The Tom Ricks Theory Of Professional Military Education

Posted: August 30, 2011 in Songs of Space and Nuclear War
Tags: , , , ,

Tom Ricks is no fan-boy of Professional Military Education (PME), especially as it regards the Air War College.  Ricks’ general take is that the nation would be better served by having senior PME students attend civilian institutions, although he carries a bit of a Naval War College infatuation (rum, sodomy, and the lash?).

So I’m not attempting to throw the students out with Tom’s intellectual bathwater, but every once in a while you get one of these which, while anecdotal, remains none-the less interesting:

The University of Manitoba said it is reviewing its policy on how to accommodate students with disabilities despite winning a victory in court this week over a controversial decision to grant a PhD to a student who failed his courses due to “extreme exam anxiety.”

Gábor Lukács, a former child math prodigy who started university at age 12 and was a professor by age 24, sued the university over its decision to grant the student, identified only in court documents as A.Z., a PhD in math although he had twice failed his comprehensive exams and was missing a graduate course.

Thursday, Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Deborah McCawley rejected Mr. Lukács request that the court intervene and rescind the degree, saying he didn’t have standing to take the case to court.

The university had defended its decision, saying it was legally required to accommodate a student’s disability, in this case, exam anxiety.

Mr. Lukács had argued that the university had damaged its credibility and was at risk of turning into a “diploma mill,” a claim the judge said was “unsubstantiated.”

“Unsubstantiated” or not, this brings the concept of an “earned doctorate” into question.  I don’t expect the DoD will send any students to get a PhD. in math from the University of Manitoba, but if they do, buyer beware.

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