Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Two items to blog today. First, the Strategic Planning Committee at SCSU has issued something called "Priority Strategic Goals." I've no idea what the meaning of a nonpriority strategic goal is. But Dave Christopherson writes in on other, more troubling aspects:
Apparently we should be "empowered" to learn that "divergent" (Webster's translation: "differing from a standard; deviant") "perspectives" allow us to understand not only that "diversity" (not to be confused with its antonym, "university") is capable of "embracing...differences," but also that there is a "divergent" way of using the plural subject, "data," as if it were a singular noun.

HUH? That is also my reaction, Debra {reference to an earlier poster, who was equally confused--kb}, to some of the following words that seem to be "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." (Shakespeare's Macbeth) {And who remembers who told this "tale" in Macbeth? -- kb} Please help us clarify the following words, English professors!

"Diversity is about empowering people... Diversity must be defined as meaning more than skin-color and should embrace difference of all sorts... Divergent perspectives are what make a university strong, creative and effective.

"Rationale: Current data suggests that student of color representation on this campus is largely Asian and primarily international...

"Current data suggests that students of color are retained at a much lower rate than majority students."

Yep. Current data suggests ... to whom? If you begin with the worldview that any student who is white didn't get here without help from a racist, sexist world, then of course a lower retention rate for students of color means there's something wrong that we need to address. If you ask the question, "Is it possible that lower retention means lack of preparation or higher costs of going to school?" (it's possible that a student quits because s/he needs to get a job to support his or her family, and that might happen more often for students of color) then the data don't suggest anything -- there's just a statistical fact that seeks explanation.
There's also a sentence of rationale that after reading a dozen times defies my understanding:
According to the NCHEMS data and presentation, SCSU faces demographics that include flat growth with a changing profile, and challenging economic influences.
What the hell is that?