Letters to the Editor

Call it what it is – not ‘philosophy’

Dear Editor:

As outlined by Kristine Gill in the Daily Kent Stater (2/14/08), the “21st Century Undergraduate Education Committee” is discussing “what all Kent State graduates should have in common” – which gives one a vague sense of marketing. Nevertheless, Provost Robert Frank describes the work of the committee as “philosophy.” As Gill describes the work, it hardly sounds like “philosophy.” It might best be described as technologic, what any organizational committee does in forming a good management plan – one suspects people would be more comfortable with “management plan” than with “mission statement.” The Jesuits may have had missions in Paraguay; contemporary American universities have management plans. The committee has a “facilitator,” wants to look at “models,” not ideas, and talk with “stakeholders” (who are they, something like stockholders except they don’t have a vote?).

Will there be disagreements? Not bureaucratic ones but disagreements over conceptions and standards of rational justification? There is, after all, a body of literature in books, not “models,” in the philosophy of education, that goes back just a bit before the 21st century. As Alasdair MacIntyre suggested, while premodern universities had enforced and constrained agreements, the contemporary American university has become all things to all people, its allegedly unconstrained agreements and avoidance of conflict between rival traditions of inquiry. If the committee cannot have debates in rationally defensible ways, let its deliberations be named for what they are: the typical institutional discussions of how to meet students’ needs,” not philosophy of education.

George J. Harrison

Emeritus professor of education

B-ball deserves better for 20 in 10

Dear Editor:

When I was reading the Feb. 13 article “Flashes remain in elite company with 20th win,” I couldn’t wait to read all the details about Kent State’s historic season. I read the article with high hopes, only to be disappointed with two sentences mentioning Kent’s history-making win. I think the students of this university need to realize what an amazing accomplishment 20 wins in 10 seasons is. The Flashes’ win was on the road against Central Michigan in Mount Please, so it’s doubtful many Kent fans were there to watch. We need to give the team the credit they deserve.

Kent State is among an elite group of eight other teams that are going for their 10th year of 20 or more wins. Along with Kent, Duke and Kansas are the only other teams to have accomplished 20 wins (as of Feb. 9). Kent is one of seven teams to post at least 10 conference victories during their quest for 20 wins. From 1998-2007, they are tied for 16th place in the nation for their 229 wins. That is also the highest ranking by a MAC school. Four times in the past nine years, Kent’s 20th win has been on the road. I just feel the basketball team needs to get more credit than they have been given so far. So I would like to say congratulations to Kent State for an amazing historic season. I hope everyone comes to watch them get more than 20 wins to finish off the season.

Melissa Sidebotham

Public relations major