Claims that professors use their classroom positions to indoctrinate rather than educate their students crop up frequently in today’s polarized political climate. A geography course at Chapel Hill appears to be a perfect example.
The description in the course catalogue indicates that “Geographical Issues” focuses on three themes. There’s no hint of any political orientation or agenda.
Once you read the syllabus, however, it becomes clear that the course is not so much about the study of geography as an objective social science. Instead, it seems intended to plant seeds of doubt about, or even hostility to, free markets, international trade and the United States. The actual readings confirm this impression. This article examines the course.
The University of North Carolina Tomorrow Commission, created in March 2007, won’t report formally until January 2008, but its probable goals are already discernible. The theme of its inquiry seems to be that the University of North Carolina of the future will serve a rapidly growing population with changing demographics and will face a rapidly evolving economy.
To contend these changes, the commission is seeking ways in which the university system can move forward technically, become more fully integrated with businesses, communities, and other educational systems, create a more engaged faculty, and address current weaknesses such as the teaching of so-called “soft skills.”
UNC Tomorrow was commissioned by the UNC Board of Governors “to determine how the 16-campus system can best meet the needs of North Carolina and its people over the next 20 years.” It is comprised of 25 business, community, and academic leaders. The process so far has produced exploratory studies by the commission’s Scholars Council and has included a tour of all sixteen campuses in the UNC system and several brainstorming workshops conducted by the Institute for Emerging Ideas, a think tank associated with N.C. State. The second phase began on September 10 with the first of twelve “townhall”-style Regional Listening meetings with citizens and local officials at different locations around the state.