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Bean Counters Critical Review.


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Bean Counters CriticalReview

The article “save universitiesarts from the bean counters” was written by Gregory Petsko,biochemistry and chemistry professor at Brandeis University inWaltham, Massachusetts. The article was published online on Nature.com on 22nd December 2010 by Macmillan publisherslimited. The author of this article is expressing his concern on howuniversities, especially in U.S, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK, arecutting out every program related to art and humanity. They areventuring much into science related programs since they are moreprofitable than humanities and arts. Although the article doesn’tgive well convincing information, it is clear that many learninginstitutions have been converted to money making organizations.

Many universities in the saidcountries have been run like business institutions, and all lookingis not what they give to the students, but how much money the programis bringing to the school. These universities have been headed byadministrators who are from the business or politics (Petsko, 2010).To save humanities and arts, the author says that science shouldstand up for them (arts and humanities). He finds them equallyimportant like science related programs since he learned many thingsin the university through humanity courses.

This trend has been fueled by theforces of markets and demand, and therefore the administrators see nosense of keeping arts, and yet there is no market for it. They wantto make real money and move on. The author explains two negativetrends that have been the cause of all this. The first trend is thefact that universities have been run like a business which should notbe the case. The mission of these universities has been completelybrushed out and what matters most now is money. If the course doesnot contribute to the bottom line of the balance sheet, it iseliminated. From a recent research that has been conducted from theUniversity of California and Los Angeles, it is evident thathumanities and arts can also make profits if the learninginstitutions would be run like business centers.

The second trend is whereby thestudents have increasingly chosen the program that is offered,supported or expanded by the universities. According to (Petsko,2010), “Students have neither the wisdom nor the experience to knowwhat they need to know.” The idea that students should be allowedto choose whatever they want is totally wrong in this concept.Students chose the course according to the moment of the period,fashion or one that will guarantee them a job after completing theeducation.

The author encourages the studentsnot to follow the trends, but to concentrate on what is good for themand pursue of passion. The university should not look at the market,rather, it should concentrate on providing quality education acrossall the programs it can handle but not siding with the ones that aremostly preferred at that moment. Universities should be the one todecide on the program they would offer and not the students or themarket.

The author provides three suggestionsthat will help to reverse these trends and try to streamline backeducation system. First, we should cement the fact that learningcenters like universities are not only just about finding newknowledge, but they are also supposed to be an archive that preservesthe ideas that may look outdated today but will in future be of greatimportance. In his second suggestion, the author points out thatuniversity should not be run by bean counters, but by people whounderstands how such institutions should be run like. The lastsuggestion is whereby the author urges the administrators of theseuniversities not to focus on one thing (market) but should channeltheir mind and ability to ideas and other things that contribute tooffering quality education to the students and supporting all theprograms offered without looking at factors that are beneficial tothemselves.

Although the author has supported hisidea in a great way, the article has not well convinced me sincethere are no facts that have been put on it. It may be the reality onthe ground, but the information in the article lacks enough evidencethat makes it not fully convincing. At some point, I agree with theauthor when he says students are choosing the course according to thefashion of the moment of the day. Currently, in America, everystudent want to study business administration and management or anycourse related to business. Some time ago sociology was once thefavorite, and this shows that this trend is difficult to controlsince the students just do something that their peers are doing.

The author has used sources that haveno reference. For instance, he talks about the research that wastaken from the University of California and Los Angeles he doesn`tsay who took did the research, which year and where it has beenpublished. This creates a room of doubt about that research. I wouldpartly agree that it’s through humanities that many people in otherprograms learn critical thinking, but in my opinion, scientists areknown to look down on humanities and that they consider the programcheap for them. This makes me feel that they cannot make a big impactin changing the situation. I agree with the information on thearticle, but the evidence is lacking.

Many people depend on the educationin shaping their life, and once learning institutions are runninglike a business, they will lose the focus and end up wasting a lot oftime and money on something they didn`t like. In conclusion,humanities and just like any other program should be considered ofgreat important and given equal privileges in the learning centers.Through this, a dream of a person will be achieved. Universitiesshould try by all means to end the trends that a specific program isbetter than the other. Institutions of learning should be run bypeople who understand them well and not administrators whose main aimis to make money out of it.


Petsko, G. (2010). Save university arts from the bean counters.Nature, 468(7327), 1003-1003.http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/4681003a