It appears that some members of the community only now discovered my piece on the proposal to start a Zoo Science program. They are full of ad hominem attacks, personal insults, and of course threats.
Nothing gives me more energy and determination than that. Also, nothing gives me more assurance that I am doing the right thing, and spot on in my argument, than when multiple people spew invective at me and my family without actually addressing the argument.
In order to make sure people understand the particular point:
- The Zoo Science program at WLU is NOT one of four in the country.
- The Zoo Science program is not one based on an actual zoo, if you mean Zoo like most people think of Zoo. Is it an “accredited Zoo?” Yes. Is it the San Diego Zoo? Seriously? Is a Zoo a Zoo, is a Zoo, is a Zoo all equal in ability, species, staff, seriousness, academic capability, etc.? I think you get my point. The Good Zoo is a Zoo but it’s not a ZOO.
- If anyone bothers to click through the links that I provided, which obviously none did, you’ll find that there are multiple programs out there that do what WLU says it is going to do in broader programs. To answer one particularly naive commenter who accused me of not looking at the big picture — I looked at the big picture and compared the program to others (and provided links, which you did not click on apparently). WLU’s Zoo program is lacking, woefully so, comparatively. Perhaps my critics should expand their search, or, I don’t know, click on a link, and then do something resembling higher education: read.
- I also heard the comment that WLU is growing. Apparently, some do not know how to read enrollment reports. Enrollment is tanking at WLU and has the last two cycles because of the faculty desire to attack the college they work for. Further, even if applications are up, and let’s say they are, the only proof will be in the next enrollment report. Finally, as already noted, WLU has one of the highest non-retention numbers in WV. The sciences, as I already noted in a prior post (that obviously was not read) is the only major on campus sort of holding it’s own. But overall? WLU is tanking in enrollment with no plans to fix it other than “getting a larger share of the smaller pie” as I was told. Yes, that’s an exact quote.
So, these are what we call facts: WLU has not told the truth about Zoo Science. There are several, many, multiple, colleges offering this program (in many colleges it is a part of a larger program like at UNC). It’s so easily verifiable as to be stunning that WLU is repeating this untruth. It appears now that students—whom I feel for making the investment in a program that is available widely—come out with hostility at me for pointing out this fact, when their ire should be directed at those who sold them a bill of goods and falsely advertised.
Finally, starting a new program, spending money on a new major, spending faculty time to get a new program up and running, costs. Part of my point, if it was read, and it wasn’t, is that this is a fine time to start a new program that has little demand, and that is also available—widely available—at many other colleges in the United States.
To spend money on this and on a dubious major—UNC Wilmington, Ohio State have way better programs, if not expansive ones—borders on incompetence. WLU is in a budget crisis; this is not the time to start a new program that is available elsewhere by colleges next to real Zoos even though this one is “accredited” at Oglebay and has 70 species, which is nothing like, say, the Columbus Zoo which has 800 species and millions of visitors, and also has a program offered by Ohio State. I have asked: what is WLU’s competitive advantage over, say, Ohio State and the Columbus Zoo? The answer? “We offer it cheap.”
Addendum: In response to a question, what are the enrollment projections for Zoo Science at WLU? I could not find one report. I also could find NO report to the HEPC. In other words, the enrollment projections for this new program have no study, no assessment, not one bit of evidence that I can see demonstrating it will be successful. There is also not one benchmark that would determine success. If one exists, i’d like to see it.
And one more thing: WLU is not the cheapest, and at least one community college offers it as a two year degree.