Friday, November 11

Churchill a model for "Shock Value" Lecture Techniques

Read this article on FrontPage Magazine by Kyle Ellis. I wish more people talked about Academic freedom. Being a conservative in college can be a very frustrating experience. This is why.
Like Churchill, Wolfe declared himself a proponent of “shock value” as an essential teaching tool. Elaborating on his distinctive understanding of academic freedom, Wolfe stated that “there is also a value of what I call ‘shock value’ teaching—that is, when a teacher purposely takes a provocative stance in order to jolt students out of places.” As if to demonstrate the point, Wolfe went on to present a composition by the Australian musician and left-wing political activist Martin Wesley-Smith. Entitled “Weapons of Mass Distortion,” it was a snide and cynical attack on the U.S. liberation of Iraq. Wolfe even played a score on his saxophone to accompany the visual graphics. Discussing the work, Wolfe acknowledged that it was little more than political propaganda. Nonetheless, he stressed that it was “compelling and highly effective.”

Even as he made time for second-rate anti-American propaganda, Wolfe did not attempt to address the allegations made by his critics. Never did he explain why a professor whose doctorate is in higher education was qualified to teach a course demanding an expert knowledge of the social, economic and political underpinnings of war and peace. Other than providing a telling illustration of the form, Wolfe also failed to explain why political indoctrination was appropriate for a university classroom. And while he paid lip service to the principles of academic freedom, including students’ “right to non-discriminatory treatment” and “the right to be graded fairly,” he declined to account for his role in violating both.

Those omissions will likely pass unnoticed by the university. When Students for Academic Freedom publicized the revelations of Wolfe’s biased curriculum and his conspicuous lack of academic credentials last year, the university chose to look the other way. It seems intent on continuing that tradition. Indeed, according to Rachel Kraus, a Ball State sociology professor who coordinated Wolfe’s recent lecture, he will present the same talk at several other universities throughout the next year. That means more university students will now be afforded the spectacle of Professor Wolfe dilating on matters on which he can claim no special knowledge while railing against American foreign policy and dismissing all adversarial points of view as the “extremism” of his political persecutors. Come to think of it, it will be a lot like taking his course at Ball State.