Thursday, February 16, 2006

Courses Have Consequences

John Tibbits, president of our local community college, Conestoga College, is all upset because McMaster's new satellite medical school will go in a new downtown Kitchener campus of the University of Waterloo, and not at Conestoga. In an article in our local paper, the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, he suggested the decision was not "rational" or "logical".

Is it possible that Conestoga didn't get the new medical school because they have a history of offering courses that endorse quack therapies, such as HOLI8170 (Reflexology) and HOLI8120 (Therapeutic Touch)? Or because they have a history of offering courses that tout pseudoscience, such as META0110 (Psychic World), META0130 (Advanced Psychic World), and META0060 (Reincarnation - Who Were You?)?

I'm sure many of Conestoga College's courses are not as wacky as these, and most are probably very helpful to the people who take them. But courses have consequences. If your curriculum contains nutball entries, and you offer them year after year even after people have complained, don't be surprised if some legitimate scientists and physicians don't want to be associated with you.

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