University leaders say they are unperturbed by the recent criticisms of UNC’s general education program coming from a local nonprofit.
The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a right-leaning, Raleigh-based nonprofit that analyzes universities in North Carolina and the nation, will release a report Friday labeling UNC’s general education program as flawed and incoherent.
“Much of its design and its failure to restrict course options in any meaningful way direct students away from the skills and knowledge they are most likely to need in the future,” the report reads.
The lack of a core curriculum is just one of the Pope Center’s main criticisms of higher education institutions, said Jane Shaw, the center’s president. Shaw said the Pope Center, which has a conservative viewpoint, is also concerned with what it sees as the increasing politicization of classes and activities on college campuses.
Jay Schalin, director of policy analysis at the center, recently gave a speech on the liberal viewpoint that he feels is promoted at many universities.
He said students with liberal views are rarely challenged, conservative students often find themselves “in the fire” and students who arrive on campus without strong political beliefs find themselves adopting those liberal views.
But UNC microbiology professor Steven Bachenheimer said he doesn’t believe faculty members transmit their political beliefs to students, whether they are liberal or not.
“I think people like Jay Schalin believe that we brainwash students,” Bachenheimer said. “(He thinks) they come out as sort of zombies who can’t critically evaluate issues that face them as citizens, and I would suggest that that is bogus.”
Bachenheimer also said he doesn’t feel Schalin’s arguments are logically sound.