Opinion: Clarion Call

Modest proposals from NCSU profs to work diversity into technical courses

Clarion Call No. 230
North Carolina State University has a new diversity czar. Apparently, “diversity czar” is the term de rigeur, as it was used without irony more than once by The News & Observer in its Oct. 14 article on N.C. State’s Jose Picart.

“We say academics is our core mission,” announced Czar Jose I. “So we must put diversity into academics.”

Furthermore, the new czar “said professors should integrate diversity into the classroom of every discipline, no matter how technical. For example, he said, a humanities student could be required to attend a lecture or dinner and then write an essay about it. An engineering professor could require students to go into the community to conduct group projects, then grade them on their interactions with residents.”

Some professors may already have reworked their course descriptions, regardless of how technical their discipline, to meet the new czar’s decree. The following list came to me anonymously, and I cannot vouch for its accuracy. Readers will note that they are modest proposals. That having been said, here is a list of those course descriptions, with the additions highlighted in italics:

Chemistry 416. Analytical Chemistry Laboratory
Experiments in spectroscopy, electrochemistry, chromatography and electronics; computer applications to experimental design and data smoothing. Dinner with a NAMBLA representative.

Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering 541. Advanced Machine Design I
Advanced treatment of stress analysis and mechanics of materials devoted to analytical methods of predicting the life of mechanical components. Development of governing differential equations of elasticity. Analyses of beams, stress concentrations, pressurized pipes, rotating disks and contact stresses. Usage of energy approach to elasticity problems also as well as a brief introduction to plastic failure criteria. Essay topic: “Reparations for slavery by 2005 — no more dreams deferred.”

Nuclear Engineering 400. Nuclear Reactor Energy Conversion
Introduction to the concepts and principles of heat generation and removal in reactor systems. Power cycles, reactor heat sources, analytic and numerical solutions to conduction problems in reactor components and fuel elements, heat transfer in reactor fuel bundles and heat exchangers. Problem sets emphasize design principles. Heat transfer lab included. Group project bake sale. Cookies, brownies, fudge, pie. Different prices for men and women reflect gender income disparity.

Foreign Language-Russian 201. Intermediate Russian I
Basic Russian language skills continued. More emphasis given to writing and essential conversational practice. Intermediate level readings in Russian literature and culture. Class and laboratory practice; written assignments. Take-home assignment: spend a night in a closet; compare and contrast experience with that of LGBTQ students in the closet imposed by our culture.

Animal Science 303. Principles of Equine Evaluation
Conformation and function, performance, and soundness of the horse. Breed standards, rules, and regulations for evaluation, selection, and performance. Field trips. Go into community Planned Parenthood for abortion endorsement and condom distribution.

Physics 401. Quantum Physics I
An introduction to the basic principles of quantum physics with an emphasis on selected applications to atoms, molecules, solids, nuclei and elementary particles. Assignment: “Queer Eye for the Quantum Physics Guy.” Have LGBTQ student “rainbow up” your wardrobe.

Africana Studies 240. African Civilization
An interdisciplinary study of centers of African civilization from antiquity to the 1960s. Such centers include ancient Egypt, Nubia, Axum, Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Kilwa, Malinda, Sofola, Zinzibar and Monomotapa. Attendance of the annual “Heritage Pride” concert given by Kids of the Confederacy’s “Stars & Bars Forever” glee club.

Women’s and Gender Studies 492. Theoretical Issues in Women’s and Gender Studies
Examination of feminist theory. Study of formative texts in modern feminism, drawn from various disciplines within the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. In-depth exploration of feminist perspectives on issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, work and mothering, among others. Analysis of local and global cultural practices using feminist theoretical frameworks. Requirement to attend a dinner with a man. Involves all cooking and cleaning.