I always call out that one stupid SNHU commercial where a guy giving a commencement address says the world distributes talent equally but not opportunity, because he has it exactly backwards. Or at best, people can reasonably disagree about the opportunity part, but talent has never been distributed equally in THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF BIOLOGY. Talent simply does not work that way. So that commercial always rubbed me the wrong way, just for that stupid line. I just found out, though, that SNHU has been playing limbo with a very low bar.
Just recently, they had to fire—they said “replace”—an adjunct sociology professor for not knowing, and doubling down on her ignorance of, a basic geography fact everyone learns in third grade. Let’s play a little quiz.
Is Australia a continent or a country?
If you didn’t answer “both”, then it’s time to go back to third grade.
A student in this professor’s online class did an assignment that involved comparing the US to another country, and the student chose to look at social media in Australia. The professor said Australia is a continent, not a country.
The student, having remembered something from third grade, fourth grade, all the other grades, news, movies, major events like the Olympics, or the bajillion other places anyone could have picked up this fact, tried to correct her professor. She even went so far as to send a link to the Australian government’s website. The professor was adamant, until finally somehow or other they had to learn something and upgraded the student’s paper to a B+.
Seriously? This isn’t just common knowledge, it’s beyond common knowledge. Like, there are sofas that know Australia is both a country and a continent. Never mind that any moron could simply go to Wikipedia, or Google, and confirm in literally one second that Australia is a country. But how anyone can go through life not knowing this, and yet land a job as a teacher, especially in a field that requires a good knowledge of geography, is mind-blowing.
This is equivalent to a math teacher not knowing that 8 is a thing. This hypothetical math teacher is handing out assignments in algebra, or maybe trigonometry, and yet when confronted with the digit 8 they go blank. It’s impossible to imagine the path from point A to point B that could let them skip over that piece.
Granted, sociology is one of the softest of soft sciences and most of its courses have the intellectual rigor of a Teletubbies episode written by Kim Kardashian, but hoo boy. How did this person even graduate high school, let alone go through years of academic BS to get a degree that undoubtedly SNHU requires before they can teach anyone, even as an adjunct? I don’t even know how it’s possible for any grown-ass adult to go out into the world and go through daily life without knowing this fact; not in the modern era. So how do you manage to be so completely ignorant your brain has to be actively throwing knowledge out by the bucket-load on an hourly basis—or spewing a powerful fountain of anti-knowledge as it were—yet clear the multiple hurdles it takes to get hired as a teacher?
To SNHU’s credit, they’re refunding the student’s tuition for the course, and that teacher has been, as I mentioned, “replaced”. Good first steps.
This reminds me of a little story. Back in the ’80s, my cousin was in grade school, and she scored perfectly on a math test. Her teacher didn’t give her the full grade, because she “didn’t know her students well enough yet”. I don’t think the teacher was ever flogged for that, but in a better world they would have been, and in a perfect world they would never have been hired.
SNHU now has a job to do. It’s time for them to go through and look critically at each and every one of the professors they’ve hired, because somehow this bozo made it through the filter. If one did, others might have, and that’s a credibility problem they’d better lock down.
Because talent, in fact, is not distributed equally.