When President Kalikow retires next year, the Board of Trustees should appoint me as the new President of the University of Southern Maine. I’m qualified, and I’d be really good at it. I have lots of experience working with the various political and bureaucratic cliques here at USM. I served on the Student Senate Executive Board for two years, and I did my Honors thesis on our implementation of the Federal Work-Study program. Everyone who’s worked with me will agree that I’m the best there is at coming up with creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems. I’m going to take some time now to to respond (with all due respect) to some our our current President’s recent work and commentary, so that people can get an idea of what to expect from me if I’m chosen as her successor.
Kalikow’s been doing an OK job as president. She’s honest with us about the current situation and the outlook for USM’s future. Her perspective on the role of a public university in modern American society is eminently reasonable. But I’d like to suggest that, however honest she might be about scope of the problems facing USM, she’s far too optimistic. And however reasonable her perspective may be, her solutions aren’t sufficiently creative for our present crisis.
For example, the current plan to keep USM afloat is to bring enrollment back up to what it was in the good old days. Supposedly, we’re going to do this by marketing ourselves more forcefully all around New England, and by showing off our new programs, such as Tourism & Hospitality. This is a reasonable plan. It’s also boring, and it fails to distinguish us from our competitors.
Kalikow stated, off-hand, that English majors rule the world. In the simple sense, this is false; they don’t make nearly as much money as economics or even finance majors. Let’s suppose, then, that what Kalikow meant by her remark was this: It’s neither the artists nor the scientists who ultimately make high-level executive decisions for our society; it’s the lawyers and politicians, people who, as undergraduates, studied the humanities. And we should be glad that this is the case. It’s far better to have a sociologist running your organization than an engineer.
[But better still to have both. That’s me!]
If the folks now studying the humanities will be running the world in fifteen years, shouldn’t we be preparing them for the task? They’re probably not learning in their history classes how to invest scant fossil fuel resources. I know that one doesn’t learn in sociology how to effectively wield astro-turf activists. If Kalikow wanted to capitalize on her insight, she’d be working to start a new program here at USM, a Bachelor’s in World Domi-
A Bachelor’s in Macroscale Civilization Management. This would be the ultimate in cross-discipline humanities education; these kids would need to take classes in everything from GIS software to Foucault. Not only would such a program prepare people for rewarding lives and meteoric careers, it would also make them marketable as mid-to-high-level administrators for multinational conglomerates. Finally, churning out five to twenty potential hegemons every year would quickly make Southern Maine the center of the world stage, both economically and politically.
This is the kind of creative thinking that will bring USM through the darkness and back to its rightful place as the premier regional public university in Northern New England.
This piece was contributed by Mako Bates who graduated from USM with a bachelor’s of sociology in 2012 and is current senior majoring in electrical engineering.