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The Future of Higher Education Is Not Education

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The University of Akron’s nickname is the Zips. And “zip” describes the quality of education at the school under its administration’s grand new “ideas.”

The University of Akron will phase out 80 degree programs, about 20 percent of what it now offers, in part, to save money for the future, the university announced on Wednesday.

The cuts come after a yearlong review of Akron’s degrees and degree tracks. Among the university’s strengths are nursing, biosciences, engineering, dance, and music, Akron’s Board of Trustees said in a statement. The 10 Ph.D. programs, 33 master’s programs, 20 bachelor’s programs, and 17 associate-degree programs that will be phased out suffered low enrollment or were duplicates of prosperous programs at other, similar institutions.

Akron must not have money to spend, right?

As the university ends what it deems unpopular degrees, it is leaning into a current trend on college campuses: competitive video gaming, known as esports. On Thursday, Akron announced that it would open three facilities to accommodate varsity, club, and recreational gamers. The university said the centers would represent “the largest amount of dedicated esports space of any university in the world to date.”

Five inaugural varsity teams will compete this fall in the video games Overwatch, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Rocket League. The games explore themes of fantasy and horror; thwarting insidious terrorist plots; and soccer with rocket-powered cars.

Oh, what the living fuck. First, esports are not sports. Let’s just get that out of the way. Sorry, sports do require actual athleticism. And I don’t want to hear your geek crying about being oppressed or whatever. If you aren’t sweating and aren’t exercising, it’s by definition not a sport. Play your games all you want, but cut the pretension. I can only imagine how many outraged comments this will lead to. Put down the controller and go outside!

Second, this is being created at a podunk campus in a dying city by eliminating dozens of programs!

Programs cut include bachelor’s degrees in art history, French, geography, math and physics, along with master’s degrees in history, physics, sociology and Spanish.

You have got to be kidding me! What I love about modern higher education is all the talk about “preparing students for jobs” and then doing the opposite. My own school loves to talk about international programs and international education and then cut the foreign language program in the recent general education revisions. Yes, what will prepare our students for the international economy more than not speaking another language! Brilliant! But at least Akron students can spend lots of time rooting for their favorite video game players while they don’t have to learn any skills that make them think!

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