“Dad’s paying for her crypto-Marxist post-deconstructual feminist-poetry-theory-whatever major; she could have stuck around for the cake.” — Linda Drysdale (Jamie Lee Curtis) referencing the academic “major” of Meg Thrombey (Katherine Langford) in “Knives Out”

“The goal of Communication Studies students is to succeed in the major.” — Real life social science professors

Succeed in the major?

What major? A Studies major? Studies of what?

And once these students “succeed” in the major, is that the end in-and-of itself? What comes next? A return trip to mom and dad? Holding an incendiary sign at a “peaceful” protest?

Are today’s digital employers demanding to hire majors in Cinema Studies, Environmental Studies, Ethnic Studies, Folklore and Public Culture, Global Studies, Media Studies, Medieval Studies or Women’s, Gender and Sexual Studies? And yet the University of Oregon is offering undergraduate degrees in all of these studies curricula.

The conventional thinking was that students taking archeology, anthropology, poetry and theatre arts were taking a life-long vow of poverty. Isn’t that essentially the same career path for studies majors? “We watched movies in Cinema Studies.”

Besides a stunning loss of future income, what is the real cost for these majors? Right now, the accumulated national student debt is $1.730 trillion or $38,983 per former/present student. In contrast the total amount of credit card (dumb) debt is $955 billion or $6,072 per ball-and-chain holder.

As our world becomes even more digitally complex, how does a new graduate in Medieval Studies (e.g., 5th to 15th Centuries) fit the bill? Didn’t the Middle Ages end well before the invention of the Integrated Circuit (1959), the promulgation of Moore’s Law (1965), Web 1.0 (1990), and Web 2.0 (1995)?

As a former tenure-track professor in public relations for four years, Almost DailyBrett quickly concluded that way too many of our colleges and universities lost sight of their ultimate purpose.

And what is that?

Preparing students to succeed in a well-compensated position in the profession of their choosing with a full-range of benefits and equity in cases of a publicly traded employers. Colleges and universities are not there to merely serve as the venue for professors to toil on their august research for desultory peer-reviewed academic journals that no one will ever want or care to read.

Weren’t our colleges and universities intended to serve as professional schools providing students with the Tertiary Trifecta: An education, A credential, An experience?

What majors are relevant to the 21st Century?

For example, the liberal-arts oriented University of Oregon offers undergraduate and in many cases post-graduate degrees in real Honest-to-God majors: accounting, advertising, business administration, computer and information sciences, economics, interior architecture, journalism, law and public relations.

Your author received his M.A. from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC). Unfortunately, the university and its students also spend way-too-much good money on more than a dozen questionable studies majors, including all of them listed above (e.g., Folklore and Public Culture).

Do they play and analyze John Denver tunes in class?

Should Studies Majors Bid Adieu?

“University politics make me long for the simplicity of the Middle East.” — Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Ph.D Harvard University

Considering your author never majored in “studies” and only taught professional majors (i.e. public relations, advertising, marketing, corporate communications, investor relations), it should not come as a surprise that Almost DailyBrett is making the call:

Once the present cadre of studies majors have concluded their classwork, these disciplines should be relegated to the ash heap of history.

Wonder how that proposal would fly with easily excitable Faculty Senates? Alas, the precedent for these studies majors has already been set and with it come entrenched constituencies. Just like dinosaurs, they will fight to the finish against all invading their sacred turf.

And how will this return-to-the-original-mission-of-an-university impact the eternal feud between faculty academics and professionals? Maybe the Middle East is indeed simpler after all.

Your author must ask: Couldn’t a media studies professor be recalibrated to teach professional majors including Advertising, Journalism, Marketing and Public Relations? The answer is a qualified, ‘yes.’ It would be better if they had proven experience in these professions including the ability to make ends meet.

Here’s the hard part: These entrenched academics would have to change their focus from students succeeding in the major to graduates professionally flourishing in real digital-age positions in which the fiduciary goal is to Buy Low and Sell High.

Some may want to offer how Philosophy majors have been transformed into superior barristers (oxymoron?). True. Some may choose to be offended and level misogyny charges against Almost DailyBrett for questioning the purpose of gender studies as a major.

Keep in mind that screenwriter Rian Johnson introduced the eye-raising commentary about Katherine Langford’s crypto-Marxist post-deconstructual feminist-poetry-theory-whatever major in “Knives Out.”

Knives Out was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2019.

Wonder how many academic knives would be out for anyone brave or foolhardy enough to advocate a peaceful and blissful burial of any and all studies majors?