David Johnston: UNC’s numbers game

February 15, 2013 

Numbers game

As a Carolina grad, I have closely followed the discussion of Gov. Pat McCrory’s comments about what our state-supported institutions should teach.

What I find missing is any reference to the list of top majors at UNC. Frankly, I am somewhat appalled by it. Biology is No. 1, about double the next two on the list. I get that a hard science leads to med school.

Next is Journalism and Mass Communications. That one is a head scratcher given the dying print industry and the very small percentage who actually make a living in advertising or mass communication.

But then comes the big No. 3: Exercise and Sport Science. How many coaches, gym teachers or personal trainers does this country really need?

I hate to think of my tax dollars supporting such fields of study in the name of critical thinking or world view. It smacks of “butts in seats,” making the governor’s argument the more compelling.

If NCSU isn’t training a significant number of engineers, then suspicion confirmed: “Butts in seats” is the strategy driving our state universities. I would prefer my tax dollars not support a numbers game.

David Johnston


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