A lecturer at the University of Canterbury has stirred the academic pot by implying gaining an Arts degree is “easy”.
The lecturer presented a slide claiming: “If Engineering was easy, they’d call it Arts instead.”
It has caused an uproar on Twitter, after it was posted by Luke Goode, who said:
Dear Canterbury Uni NZ Arts colleagues: apparently this is how your Engineering colleagues think it’s appropriate to talk about you and your students to their new students. pic.twitter.com/zJMsGonUvg
— Luke Goode (@LukeGoode) February 21, 2018
The associate professor in media and communication at the University of Auckland later acknowledged it may have been intended as “harmless banter” but “in the context of an ideological war on critical thinking coupled with the anti-intellectualism that infects this country, it infuriates me.”
“Want/need to stop harping on about this except to say we (society) desperately need (well-engineered) bridges between Arts/Hums and STEM, not walls,” he tweeted.
Twitter appears to be divided on the issue.
Some are on Goode’s side.
"Nothing harder than taking math and physics": no way. Students are different, true excellence in any field is demanding, etc. The subjectivity in degrees of difficulty cannot be wished away by these stupidly rash statements. Indeed lack of training in the Arts is evident here.
— Mark Masterson (@MarkJMasterson) February 22, 2018
@UCNZ you might want to consider taking some time to teach your engineering faculty about the value of arts and humanities and maybe start tackling the arrogance within the faculty ????
— Chiara (@ChiaraG__) February 21, 2018
everyone's different!! It's not hard to be respectful to your fellow students (or just your students, in this lecturers case)
— dweeb (@dweebunny) February 22, 2018
Others see it as joke.
Is he wrong though? Only easier degree than Arts is Commerce. UC is renowned for its engineering school, not its Art students. Speaking as a UC grad with a BCom
— Andrew Perry (@YourHomeLoanNZ) February 21, 2018
I graduated with an MA Fine Art (with distinction) & found the engineering quote funny – cause its true. Artists should spend a little less time being offended and a little more time figuring out how to make a living with their career choice. Hard work and a sense of humour helps
— Trevor Jones (@trevorjonesart) February 22, 2018
When you are done with the tissues maybe you can use them like paper mache and create a art project. Life without banter would be a miserable place to live.
— Brick Obsession (@brickobsession) February 22, 2018
Since tweeting the slide on Wednesday, Goode has said he didn’t anticipate that the tweet would generate so much controversy and has apologised if any person or institution felt singled out for criticism.
Business Insider has contacted the university for a comment.
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