When a graduation is still not a graduation

I’ve had time to ponder Don’s reply to my post regarding graduation. I’ve also had time to ponder Matt U’s comment regarding Don’s post. As of this posting I’ve not heard much else said. Suffice it to say, Don really got traffic up on The Harold Lounge and it appears he attracted more readers to my post than I originally intended.

I’d like to thank all of you for reading and I’d like to thank Don for being critical of my post. Here then is what I have to say. Call it a rebuttal, not a retribution:

While it can be very easy to hide behind anonymity and enter a fighting match of words with another blogger, I don’t believe it is fitting of our academic standards. Sorry Matt, the folks who may be “watching to see if [I] can drag [my]self off the mat after Don knocked [me] on [my] virtual ass” will have to go elsewhere for a Jerry Springer Show experience. I do like your humor and if I can dish it out, I can sure as heck take it. That was a great comment. (I almost pictured myself in a cage match with Don, with both of us wearing Lucha Libre masks.)

Don, as I mentioned, I want to thank you for your counterpoint to my concern about the 10,000 Small Businesses (10KSB)  “graduation”. I can understand the feeling of anger that came over you. I’ve had similar reactions when reading other posts and articles. All I can say is that it was never my intention to cause such a reaction. Honestly, I didn’t expect you to read my post. It was meant for the few readers that have been coming by The Lounge over the summer. I didn’t know you were receiving notifications.
And Don, in case you were left wondering, I wasn’t trying to get your attention in an indirect kinda way. You know my style is to be direct with you as I’m doing with this post. Me don’t play those silly games.

Now then, about your post. I’ll place the first sentence of each paragraph you wrote and give you my take. That’s one of the few logical ways I can think of addressing your concerns without doing a copy-and-paste of the entire post. (Hey, by now everyone’s read both posts) Here goes:

Things here at the college seemed a little too quiet.
Um, yeah, My apologies for messin’ up your afternoon. Not intentional.
I hope you enjoyed your weekend. I’m being sincere, not sarcastic.

I have to hand it to Realist.
Not trying to get under your skin. Just trying to make a point. That ‘corporate’ word was a typo, but just ’cause I made that one error, it don’t mean my whole argument should not be reviewed objectively. That would be an Ad hominem fallacy, right? Ditto for the rest of the assumptions.
Oh yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever been clear on whether I be a he or she, and I rather keep it that way for now.

And Realist and I had been getting along so well.
We still are Don. You an me can be blog buddies. I’ve come to appreciate your leadership skills and I like what you’ve been doing at the college. It doesn’t mean we’ll always agree. In this case, we may have to agree to disagree. But we can do that and still coexist. S’all right.

What we celebrated on Tuesday was the hard work 37 small business owners dedicated themselves to completing.
I’m not arguing what was celebrated. I’m not arguing the hard work of these individuals. On that we agree. Where in my post did I state otherwise? My argument was the name given to the celebration. It was not a graduation in the academic sense of the word. I compared this 10KSB event to our May graduation which IMHO was an official graduation. This thing that took place with the 10KSB was nothing more than a celebration of some folks completing a training program. Period. I didn’t like to three-ring circus it became in the media and the word “graduation” getting tossed around. It’s not a true graduation. I still welcome any other reader to argue and prove that it was an actual graduation.

In addition, scholars were assigned regular homework.
OK. Now we call that homework? How? We may be going a bit Red Herring here. Let’s stick to arguing “graduation” before we continue.

We were able to conduct this program owing to a generous grant from the Goldman Sachs Foundation
Not an inductive fallacy. Not when I go to GS’s website and read this:
“Our assets are our people, capital and reputation.” Prejudicial language from one CEO does not make me change my mind. Objectivity will.

Getting a job is a fundamentally transformative event.
Not arguing transformation of lives. And I will not fall for appealing to force or pity. The point of my post was the disagreement with the word “graduation” being abused as it was.

I am so proud that Professor Kelley…
IMHO, prejudicial language that takes us away from my point. I’d like to  focus on the argument.

Realist says this activity “pollutes and dilutes the educational system.”
Yep. That’s what I want to argue. But that’s tangential to the focus of this post. Perhaps another day we can return to this.

Realist says “These “students” are only a means to a profitable end for one company.
Yep again. They’re assets to a corporate giant. I didn’t slander these people. I demonstrated how they are being used by a business entity. I feel sorry for what GS made them do and then insult them with “scholar” titles and making them think they “graduated” from an academic institution. If anything, GS should start with the ivy league institutions and begin apologizing to those true scholars earning true PhD’s. They can then work their way down the line of accredited institutions. GS is not an expert in the field of education and they have no business pretending to have any expertise than amassing profits (and I can live with that fact – you won’t get an argument from me).

And yes, I consider our 10,000 Small Businesses scholars “our” students.
And I do not. This is where I respectfully disagree. I made no attempt to be elitist or to have an arrogant attitude. Alls I did was gather my facts and reach my conclusion from a point of view that may be opposite of yours. That’s all. By default, they are our students.

I am most concerned with Realist’s narrow, and narrow-minded conception of education…
I think of it more as being focused. I’m not ignoring our dual mission, but when we call ourselves an open institution and then limit enrollment in the 10KSB adult ed program, it makes me wonder what is happening to our mission. GS introduced a pay to play program. Per the eligibility checklist, I needs me at least 150K to be considered for club membership. How many true small business owners are we dis-serving? GS got those stats? I don’t think so.

Realist calls himself an entrepreneur and capitalist.
Yep. I’m also other things such as an educator and a sports fan and some blogger running a Summer Music Contest on The Lounge. These bi-polar realities serve me well. I don’t ignore them, I embrace them.
BTW, I would rather have lofty concepts of education in my fantasyland to serve me well in the real world. Something a philosopher said one day turned me on to this concept.
I’m also good with the business schools. As long as they have accredited programs which then makes their graduations valid. GS can apologize to them too.

He should be both.
I am both. And then some. How many GS “scholars” read Descartes or Aristotle’s Ethics? How will they know if their business decision is helping or harming a community? At least I’m open to understanding that what I do may be both helpful and harmful. Is the same true of the GS folks? Did they teach their “scholars” to think critically in this way? I’m, open to knowing more. I’ve claimed my ignorance more than once on The Lounge and I’ll do it again if necessary.

And shame on Realist.
OK. Shame on me for ruining your day. It was not intentional. But I’m not here to poison. I’m here to adhere to the quality of the education I’ve received and to voice my opinion. That’s what a democratic society provides to its citizens?
If others have an opportunity to learn from our exchange on words, then I accept no shame for promoting critical thinking. Shame on me if I don’t respond to your post. Shame on me if I don’t learn from you and anyone else who cares to share. Shame on all of us if we stop questioning and arguing.

Thanks for reading Don. I respect you for calling me out on this one. I wouldn’t be doin’ you or me any favors if I didn’t give you a reply. I also wouldn’t be doin’ us any favors if I didn’t give you my best. In no way do I mean any personal or professional disrespect, which sometimes may appear to be the case when an employee disagrees with the boss.
In no way does my post mean you need to reply either. I’m good just knowing we had an exchange of ideas and that it has been a transformative experience for me.
You and me are gonna be ok.
Your star rating is unaffected.

2 thoughts on “When a graduation is still not a graduation

  1. Very well-thought response, Realist. I don’t always agree with you (but often, I do), but I respect the intention and thought. Debate is part of the academic experience and that makes it unlike most other professions. Debate on….

    • Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words Sarah L.
      Yes, debate is necessary in our field. It keeps us from being stagnant in our classrooms and if we, the faculty body can practice critical thinking the way we preach it to our students, then it can only make us a better academic institution.

      Hope you are having a good summer and thanks for stoppin’ by The Lounge!
      Feel free to disagree when needed. It will help me to learn.

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