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Topic: Re: Professors We Need You!
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GS Chandy

Posts: 6,684
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: Professors We Need You!
Posted: Feb 23, 2014 9:34 AM
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Responding to Richard Hake's post dt. Feb 20, 2014 11:15 AM (http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=2620259),
I've carefully read:

- -- Nicholas Kristoff's article "Professors, We Need You!" (http://nyti.ms/1oIs7jD);

- -- Kristoff's blog "Bridging the Moat Around Universities" (http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/15/bridging-the-moat-around-universities/#commentsContainer)

- --Several of the responses in the ensuing debate, for example, "Public Intellectuals and the AAUP" by Ellen Schrecker (http://academeblog.org/2014/01/27/public-intellectuals-and-the-aaup/).

All of them contain good, even excellent, ideas. None that I've seen are of rankly bad ideas (such as we have seen right here at Math-teach).

However, no one putting forth those good ideas has suggested any practical means to put their good ideas into practice, on the ground.

If Mr Kristoff or any of the concerned professors and other intellectuals who may be interested in 'bridging the moat' (or in otherwise doing something in practice on the ground, with their good ideas, may I suggest that they couldn't really do better than to study some 'systems science', particularly with a view to put into practice on the ground, the good ideas they may have in any complex situation - for instance, getting the products of their excellent and often refined thinking into play in the 'public arena'.

'Abstract systems science' became practically usable by any individual or group by reason of the seminal contributions of the late John N. Warfield, who developed practical modeling tools that can help people create 'usable' and 'actionable' models of systems, in particular of 'desired systems', 'desired improvements of existing systems'. I'd describe Warfield's developments as an 'actionable systems science'. More information about Warfield's insights into systems is available at http://www.jnwarfield.com and from the "John N. Warfield Collection" held at the library of George Mason University, see http://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaxtf/view?docId=gmu/vifgm00008.xml.

Some developments from Warfield's developments in systems science, in a practical 'systems modeling tool' (which I call the 'One Page Management System' [OPMS]) now enable individuals and groups to *integrate* their good ideas on any issue, for instance, "To bring our theories into practice in the public arena" (a goal that evidently most university professors should be doing a good bit more to achieve than they are currently doing today). It so happens that the integration of good ideas available inevitably demands that the bad ideas that are floating around in plenty must be rejected, a process that is often painful for those who came forth with those bad ideas. Some instances of very bad ideas that we have seen being aired right here at Math-teach are:

- -- "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!" (Haim, who is alas no longer with us these days);

- -- "BLOW UP THE SCHOOLS OF EDUCATION!" (Wayne Bishop, who has taken up as his lifework this fatuous slogan initially aired by Reid Lyon [Reading Research Expert];

- -- "Children must be PUSHED (or even GOADED) to learn math!" (and doubtless everything else) [Robert Hansen];

- -- There are of course many other bad ideas floating around, but these are the ones that come most readily to mind.

More information about the OPMS is available at the attachments to my post heading the thread "Democracy: how to achieve it?" - see http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=2419536/

I observe that it takes a (very) little learning, along with a fair bit of 'unlearning', to apply the OPMS process to any issues of current interest. 'Unlearning' is not the easiest thing in the world to do.

GSC



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