Renaming Courses Yields Mixed Results

DYSTOPIA–Dystopia College’s decision to to append “STEM and Business” to the titles of all its humanities courses has had both positive and negative consequences, according to administrators and faculty.

The college made the decision to rename its courses in keeping with the current legislative, educational, and public obsession with science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and business fields. Provost Eddina Field said enrollment in arts, humanities, and the social sciences were declining, a trend partly attributable to the perception that they don’t lead directly to jobs.

Students still need a “well rounded education” to satisfy the demands of employers and advance to higher level of employment, however.  That’s why the college decided to give its humanities courses more “marketable” names.   For example, the course formerly known as World Literature I is now called STEM and Business World Literature I.

On the plus side, Field and Dystopia faculty members say,  the renaming has in fact increased enrollment in the courses and impressed legislators, employers, and the general public.

According to Asst. Prof. of English T. S. Elliott-Smith, who teaches STEM and Business Modernist Poetry, the number of shoe-gazing emos in the class has risen by about 25% since they have been able to convince their parents and advisors that they are now “studying something useful for the workplace.”

Dystopia President Overly Payeed-Admyn, who is overly paid mainly for hobnobbing with rich business people and philanthropists to beg for money that can be routed toward  academic programs  rather than toward paying administrators, said that business and industry leaders have supported what they see as “a move in the right direction, at least.”

Despite these “significant areas of progress,” though, the renaming has had one negative consequence that Field says “no one at the college even thought of” during discussion about renaming the courses. The “totally unanticipated” problem, she said, is that students attempting to transfer to other colleges and universities or unwisely attempting to pursue graduate study are having difficulties getting their transcripts approved for admission.

The difficulty, she said, is that no other college or university that she is aware of has courses with “STEM and Business” added to the title.  Therefore, when an admissions official looks at a Dystopia graduate or transfer’s transcript, “it might not be immediately obvious” that a particular course matches that institution’s corresponding course.

For example, Elliott-Smith reports hearing from a former student who tried to transfer his course, only to encounter an admission counselor who asked, “What the hell is STEM and Business Modern Poetry?”

The problem is made much worse, Field said, by the fact that “no two colleges in our state seem to have the same course name and numbers.”

Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper



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