“Lack of Potential for Growth”: Marymount University to Cut Degrees in Theology, Math, History, and Other Core Degrees

Marymount University has long followed the motto of Tua Luce Dirige, or “Direct Us by Thy Light” as a Catholic university. However, studying the meaning of that light will now have to be done on your own time if you want a degree on some subjects. Marymount is moving to cut theology and religious studies as well as a host of other traditional subjects like philosophy, mathematics, art, history, sociology, English, economics, and secondary education as degree subjects. All of these subjects, according to the university and its President Irma Becerra, “lack of potential for growth.”

It is entirely unclear what Becerra views as “growth potential” after gutting these core degree but Marymount may sever its connections to traditional liberal arts education. It is important to note that these changes involve the elimination of the degrees rather than the elimination any courses on these subjects.

Becerra stated “Over the long term, it would be irresponsible to sustain majors [and] programs with consistently low enrollment, low graduation rates, and lack of potential for growth. Recommendations and decisions on programs marked for elimination are based on clear evidence of student choices and behavior over time.”

There is a host of problems with that statement. First, student choices are not the guide for universities on core academic standards. Universities are places where students come to be educated, not dictate the meaning of education. While we try to work with students to make available courses that reflect contemporary interests, we generally do not carve up the core curriculum to meet consumer demand. Second, low graduation rates are a problem in the school’s admission and educational programs. Solving low graduation rates by eliminating whole core subjects is like solving a low attendance rates at church by eliminating Sunday services.

Third, and most worrisome, the rejection of the core curriculum for lack of potential growth is the rejection of the model of a liberal education. I was fortunate to attend the University of Chicago, which was a pioneer in the “core curriculum.” It was based on the main building blocks of education around subjects like history, math, and English. Marymount is instead following the market and risks becoming just another overpriced trade school.

Rather than make the difficult choices to be more competitive as a liberal arts university, Marymount appears to be jettisoning core degrees to play the market. It is a form of academic self-mutilation that cuts away the very degrees that define a liberal arts university. In fairness to the university, it must survive to offer any educational program. That will often require trimming programs and staff. However, it would seem possible to make efficient choices on course offerings and faculty without eliminating so many core subjects for degrees.

The problem is not the obvious irony of eliminating theology degrees at a university that once prayed for God to “Direct Us by Thy Light.” The problem is the university is reinventing itself in a new image, but is offering no vision of what that image entails beyond what the market will bear. It is likely to find more heat than light in its new path toward marketable educational standards.

45 thoughts on ““Lack of Potential for Growth”: Marymount University to Cut Degrees in Theology, Math, History, and Other Core Degrees”

  1. Students these days want rigorous, relevant courses of study such as Intro to Beyonce, Instagram Filters 201, and Can I Put it into my Rectum?

  2. Jonathan: Yesterday you apparently claimed credit for getting the NED to stop funding the GDI. But there is someone else who seems to agree with the GDI assessment of the NY Post. Yes, it’s the Trumpster. He just posted a comment on his third-rate social media platform–reacting to what he calls a “puff piece” in the NY Post about Gov. DeSantis who is Trump’s main rival for the 2024 nomination. Trump refers to the Post article “which supposedly appeared in the dying NY Post, which is way down in readership just like Fox…I don’t read the NY Post anymore. It has become Fake News, just like Fox and the WSJ!”. And this comes from the authority on “fake news”. So if the Trumpster no longer reads the Post what does that say about the fervent MAGA supporters on this blog–or their defense of you citing the Post in many of your columns? I’d say you and they have a lot of explaining to do. I think Trump would agree with the GDI index that the NY Post is the greatest purveyor of disinformation.

      1. Edwardmahl: Except that every Murdock owned publication and Fox News were all apologists for Trump during his 4 yr reign. This included the NY Post. Fox hosts were frequently giving advice to the Trump WH. If there ever was a “state media’ it was Fox and Murdock’s other publications from 2016 through 2020. This changed after the Jan. 6 insurrection, the second impeachment and the likelihood that Trump will be indicted on criminal charges. I think Murdock has decided Trump is toxic and no longer a viable candidate in 2024.

        So Murdock has shifted to try to bring down the Biden family with charges of “corruption” in hopes the eventual GOP candidate will have a better chance against Biden next year. The polls don’t show much public interest in this manufactured controversy so the GOP controlled House is trying to gin up the controversy with its “Criminalization’ and Oversight hearings. They hope that if they throw up enough dirt (e.g., Hunter Biden’s art sales) something will stick and resonate with their voters and some moderate Dems. Turley is trying to aid this effort with his claims that Hunter is using the sale of his work to “foreign interests” who want influence in his dad’s administration. The attorneys for the art gallery and Hunter have indicated they will fight any House subpoenas so this will end up in the courts and will be dragged out way into the 2024 campaign–probably without any resolution.

        The Q is why would Hunter Biden, who knows his every move is under scrutiny, take the proceeds from the sale of his paintings, and shovel them into the pockets of his dad? Doesn’t make any sense especially because he is facing mounting legal bills. Hunter, unlike Trump, is not a billionaire so he needs to raise a lot of money to pay his attorneys. And, unlike Trump, Hunter doesn’t have a political action committee since he has never run for public office. The Independent has just reported that Trump’s “Save America” PAC spent about $16 million on law forms representing Trump in his various legal disputes. So, in my opinion, Hunter needs money to pay his attorneys–money that won’t end up in the pockets of his dad. If you have a different opinion please explain all those photos in the NY Post that tried to convince the unsuspecting reader that those photos proved Joe was hiding classified material and Hunter was part of that scheme.

  3. Still think it’s fringe? Still think it’s a ‘fad’? Still think it isn’t generational? Our country is going to be over if older liberals do not wake up right effing now.

  4. “Universities are places where students come to be educated, not dictate the meaning of education.”

    – Professor Turley

    “Truer words have never been spoken.”

    – M.E. Grant Duffy, English MP, 1867

  5. Nell’era dell’intelligenza artificiale, non c’è bisogno della guida divina.
    Google’s Luce Dirige.

    1. Salmi 14:1 “Lo stolto ha detto nel suo cuore: Non c’è Dio. Si sono corrotti, si son resi abominevoli nella loro condotta; non v’è alcuno che faccia il bene.”

      1. Il Divino non è artificiale? Non è creato dalla Natura.
        O è che l’Intelligenza Artificiale è stata creata dal Divino per “Dirigerci con la Tua Luce”?

      2. La natura è la ‘creazione’ del Divino, i risultati della divinità.
        Il Divino stesso non ha cadavere, può solo manifestare la sua divinità divina in un’espressione di dati.
        Che si tratti dei set di dati di atomi in una molecola di DNA (ciò che chiamiamo natura), o set di dati di modelli numerici (ciò che chiamiamo intelligenza artistica).

        L'”abaco” del Divino, che si tratti di Molecole di DNA conservate nel Vostro Corpo o di Elettroni di Schemi Numerici immagazzinati nel Vostro Computer, sono tutti il risultato della manifestazione Divina.

        L’intelligenza artificiale è solo una permutazione del divino.

        1. Il Tutto Saggio,

          Perdona il mio italiano. Ho vissuto in Italia da adolescente. Sono passati troppi anni per essere fluente. Riesco ancora a capire la maggior parte di ciò che leggo. Ricevo aiuto quando scrivo.

          La bellezza di questa vita sono i suoi molti misteri. Quanto a Dio, è uno Spirito e la sua profondità è insondabile. La mente umana non ha la capacità di comprendere appieno tali questioni.

          I nostri corpi sono semplicemente il modo in cui esistiamo sulla terra. Quindi, sì, in questa veste siamo fatti di codice e struttura complessi. L’umanità è molto più che un codice e una struttura fisica. Ciò che veramente definisce l’uomo è la sua anima. Non importa quanto cerchi di essere “tutto saggio” (come dici a tuo nome) non capirà mai completamente la verità. Ecco perché, alla fine della vita di ricerca, la persona che cerca comprensione arriverà nel luogo dove si rendono conto di aver bisogno di Dio.

  6. Just 4 more years of HS. Young people today will be far better off apprenticing carpentry, electrical, masonry and HVAC or being drafted into military service?

    1. If only I knew then what I know Now.
      If you learn to do One [#1] thing good,
      and do it for Fifty Years, you will be better off than 90% of the rest.
      You can count on That.

    2. Margot Ballhere,
      I would agree with all but the last one, of military service, and I have my DD214 under Honorable Conditions and a A-1 recall rating.

      I would not want to serve under the Biden admin, his proxy war, and blind drive for WWIII or nuclear Armageddon.

    3. @Margot

      They would be better off. They won’t do it, as it involves showing up regularly and working, and their parents are very unlikely to lay down the law. We project our values and with this cohort, we really, really shouldn’t. They will not do what we would do. Due to tunnel vision and delusion, ‘better off’ does not register in their minds, they can’t imagine a time when they will need to support themselves through their own efforts, quite literally, and it isn’t normal youthful naiveté we are dealing with (the oldest millennials are now 40 and they seemingly haven’t learned a thing nor grown an inch).

  7. Jonathan: Yesterday was the Presidents Day holiday–not exactly the most important holiday. But firebrand Marjorie Taylor Greene used it to call for the breakup of the Union. Shades of Feb. 4, 1861! MTG thinks the US should go through a “national divorce”. She said: “We need to separate red states from blue states and shrink the federal government…From the sick and disgusting woke culture shoved down our throats to the Democrat’s traitorous America Last policies, we are done”. The motto of the Georgia MAGA Republican is apparently: “Save your confederate money the South will rise again!”.

    MTG’s fiery rhetoric is typical of the MAGA crowd in Congress. But she may not have thought of the possible consequences from dropping out of the Union. Say requiring a passport to travel from Illinois to Missouri. MTG’s plan might not appeal to Elon Musk whose Tesla factories in Texas might be faced with heavy duties to get their cars into blue states. It’s the law of unintended consequences.

    MTG thinks that if her MAGA caucus in the House doesn’t get everything they want, seceding from the Union is the only answer. That’s fine by me. I live in a blue state so make MTG go through customs and immigration every time she wants to come for a visit. Let’s see MTG try to survive without federal subsidies or Georgia’s dependence on a lot of tourists from the North.

    No one really takes anything MTG says seriously. But in this “age of rage”, as you call it, MTG provides an echo chamber for all those fed up with the “woke culture”, the heavy hand of the federal government, etc. I guess that’s why a neighbor of mine proudly displays Confederate and “Trump 2024” flags in front of his house. But some my other neighbors have come up with an alternative to our MAGA neighbor. A gay couple, who live across the street from the Confederate wannabee, have painted their entire home in rainbow colors. Our MAGA supporter complained to our HOA but he got little sympathy. They told him that if he took down his flags, that violate HOA policies, they would talk to the gay couple about repainting their house. He walked out in disgust. He told another neighbor he is thinking about moving back to South Carolina where he was born because he doesn’t like living across the street from “those fags!”. Not a bad idea!

    1. It is becoming more and more popular to file for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. I think that MTG has a point: instead of leaving among people who you hate and who hate you, why can’t we form “societies” of like-minded people who you would love and who would love you. Wouldn’t you be happier if people who have opposite views and opinions on everything live in another country?

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