Guilford College – Then And Now

I graduated Guilford College in 1979 with an A.B. I had a double major in Political Science and Economics. The basic cost for attending Guilford in 1978-79 without any financial aid was $4,280. This included tuition, room, board, and fees.

Today in 2020, the cost has risen to $52,920 and it will be higher in the next school year. The inflation rate from 1979 to 2020 is an average of 6.325% annually. By contrast, the average inflation rate based upon the Consumer Price Index from 1980 to 2020 is 2.92%.

What brought this up was an email I received on Friday from Guilford College with a letter from Interim President Carol Moore. It told how the school was revamping and retrenching. Many majors would be eliminated and tenured faculty was being let go.

To be frank, after reading the email I was appalled. I was appalled by what she decided were the essential majors going forward. Mind you, Guilford College is a liberal arts college which used to provide a well-rounded education. The science departments were well known for sending on graduates to industry, to PhD programs, and to med school. The social science departments had a reputation for placing graduates in law and graduate schools.

Here is the list of majors and concentrations in 1978-79 taken straight from the college catalog:

Concentrations were offered in classics, environmental sciences, history of science, non-western studies, and social services.

There were also cooperative 3-2 programs which allowed students to do three years at Guilford and two years at other schools to receive dual degrees. These included engineering with Georgia Tech, environmental and forestry sciences with the School of Forestry at Duke, medical technology with Wake Forest’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine, and the physician assistant’s program also with the Bowman Gray School of Medicine.

Fast forward to Friday and this is what is being proposed as majors going forward:

With respect to specific programs, I have recommended that the College offer 23 majors:

African and African American Studies
English and Media Studies
– Creative Writing (track)
Experience Design
International Studies
Theatre Studies
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Business Administration
Criminal Justice
Education Studies
Integrative Studies
Sport Management
– Forensic Biology (track)
Computing Technology and Information Systems
Cyber and Network Security
Environmental Studies
Exercise and Sport Sciences
Health Sciences
Public Health
Sustainable Food Systems

Many other courses of study will be available as minors or as courses to support the general education program.

I had to look up on the current college website some of these majors. Experience design? Integrative studies?

Turns out “experience design” is a fancy term for graphics arts and “integrative studies” is a make your own major thing.

I’m not even going to get into the majors in “grievance studies”. I do find it odd that a school founded by the Society of Friends (Quakers) no longer has a major in Religious Studies or even Philosophy. Given the Quakers are pacifists, it is even odder that Peace Studies has bitten the dust.

What I am seeing is a mixture of fluff and trade school majors with the occasional true liberal arts major left as a sop to traditionalists like me. Many of the majors like public health, exercise and sports sciences, and “sustainable food systems” are better offered at public universities which have more depth at a lower cost. If I wanted to be an organic farmer, I’d be going to an ag school and not a liberal arts college.

Pardon me if I feel a little saddened by all of this. I still believe in the value of a true liberal arts education. It is and has always been a bedrock of becoming an informed citizen who can critically think, cogently express ideas, and discern fact from fiction.

Fortunately, it seems alumni and students are not taking this lying down. A Facebook group called Save Guilford College has been formed and has grown to over 2,300 members in little more than a week.

What happens next will be up to the Board of Trustees.

As for me, I’m just glad I graduated when I did. It is a sad thing to say that you wouldn’t attend the current iteration of a place you spent four really good years.

Education Versus Training

I read a very perceptive opinion piece in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal by Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC-5). She is the Chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and will be the Ranking Member in the new Congress.

The piece entitled “Stop Calling it ‘Vocational Training'” dealt with the how we refer to vocational and technical education offered by vo-tech schools and community colleges as opposed to “higher education” offered in in 4-year colleges and universities. Foxx is well placed to discuss this as long before she entered politics she was a community college president in North Carolina.

Those who earn what people usually call vocational and technical degrees have long been viewed as inferior to those who graduate with a series of letters after their names. If you went to school to learn a trade, you must be lesser, because someone long ago decided that college should be called “higher” education. Considering the state of colleges and universities today, the word “higher” may be the most misleading of them all.

Foxx goes on to say that how we speak about education reeks of class snobbery. If a poor kid goes to a 4-year school, he or she has risen above their background. Conversely, if a middle class kid goes into a technical field, we say he or she “didn’t live up to expectations.” This, of course, ignores the fact that an apprentice welder can earn upwards of $60,000 annually to start as compared to many liberal arts graduates struggling to earn $30,000 a year.

Foxx then goes on to discuss an experience that she had in graduate school at UNC-Greensboro which I think goes beyond community college versus “higher education”.

One of the few lessons that stuck with me from all the courses I took on the way to earning my Ed.D. came during a classroom discussion that sparked my passion for changing the way we talk about education. I’ll never forget how the professor responded to a student who used the word “training.” Training, the professor admonished, was for animals. Humans receive an education.

We can’t keep speaking of people as if they are animals. Whether an individual acquires a skill credential, a bachelor’s degree, a postgraduate degree or anything in between, it’s all education.

We speak of the need to get firearms training. This is offered by firearms trainers. However, should we not start calling it firearms education? It does after all involve learning and is offered in a class. We are being taught how to use a tool safely which is no different in essence than a surgeon being taught how to operate specialized OR equipment. Furthermore, advanced classes delve into human behavior and how to respond to dangerous, criminal, and abnormal behaviors. Think William Aprill.

Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow deals with the dichotomy of thought between instinctive and logical. The former or System 1 deals with fast and instinctive thought while the latter or System 2 is more deliberative, slow, and logical. In the firearms education context, System 1 is where many, if not most, concentrate their teaching. System 2 or the slower, more deliberative, and logical approach is what is covered by Massad Ayoob and Andrew Branca when dealing with the aftermath of a defensive gun use.

Virginia Foxx is correct that words matter when it comes to education. Training is what you do with your Labrador Retriever. Educating and teaching is what people like Tom Givens, Massad Ayoob, William Aprill, Greg Ellifritiz, and other “firearms trainers” do. From now on, education is how we should refer to what we as humans do in classes dealing with firearms. At least, I plan to do so.

North Carolina Offers Turkey Hunting Seminars

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission in conjunction with the National Wild Turkey Federation will be offering free turkey hunting seminars across the state in March. It is intended for both beginners and advanced hunters in advance of the spring turkey season.

As an aside, have you ever noticed how many turkeys you see within urban areas and in the city limits when turkey season starts?

More details and locations from the NCWRC below:

RALEIGH, N.C. (Jan. 30, 2017) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, along with the National Wild Turkey Federation, is offering 14 free turkey hunting seminars across the state in March.

The seminars, which will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., are open on a first-come, first-serve basis to all ages and skill levels, although participants 16 years and younger will need parental permission to register. Pre-registration is required and participants must register online.

Among the topics that will be covered during the seminars are biology, hunting methods, calls and decoys, firearms and ammo tips, camouflage clothing, and turkey processing and cooking techniques. A question-and-answer session, along with a brief overview of hunter recruitment, retention and re-activation (R3) initiatives, will conclude each seminar.

Dates and locations are:

March 1

Pitt County Extension Center, Pitt County
403 Government Circle, Suite 2, Greenville, NC 27834
GPS Coordinates: (35.638284, -77.360689)

March 2

N.C. State University Engineering Building II (EBII), Wake County
Classroom 1025
3114 Engineering Building II
890 Oval Drive, Raleigh, NC 27606
GPS coordinates: (35.772173, -78.674353)

March 7

Pasquotank County Extension Center, Pasquotank County
1209 McPherson Street, Elizabeth City, NC 27909
GPS Coordinates: (36.298477, -76.235738)

March 8

Onslow County Extension Center, Onslow County
4024 Richlands Hwy., Jacksonville, NC 28540
GPS Coordinates: (34.781641, -77.494023)

March 9

Craven County Extension Center, Craven County
300 Industrial Drive, New Bern, NC 28562
GPS Coordinates: (35.142969, -77.158907)

March 14

Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center, Buncombe County
455 Research Drive, Mills River, NC 28759
GPS Coordinates: (35.424879, -82.560748)

March 15

Cumberland County Extension Center, Cumberland County
301 East Mountain Drive, Fayetteville, NC 28306
GPS Coordinates: (35.012639, -78.893928)

March 16

Bass Pro Shops, Cabarrus County
8181 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord, NC 28027
GPS Coordinates: (35.367147, -80.718964)

March 21

Brunswick County Extension Center, BLDG. N, Brunswick County
25 Referendum Drive, Bolivia, NC 28422
GPS Coordinates: (34.056713, -78.165797)

March 22

Haywood Community College, Haywood County
185 Freedlander Drive, Clyde, NC 28721
GPS Coordinates: (35.525949, -82.927936)

March 23

Caldwell County Extension Center, Caldwell County
120 Hospital Avenue NE/Suite 1, Lenoir NC 28645
GPS Coordinates: (35.922477, -81.523500)

March 28

Catawba County Extension Center, Catawba County
1175 South Brady Avenue, Newton NC 28658
GPS Coordinates: (35.647028, -81.223360)

March 29

Forsyth County Extension Center, Forsyth County
1450 Fairchild Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27105
GPS Coordinates: (36.128816, -80.225864)

March 30

Guilford County Extension Center, Guilford County
3309 Burlington Road, Greensboro, NC 27405
GPS coordinates: (36.084624, -79.738867)

“This is the third year the Wildlife Commission and the National Wild Turkey Federation have offered these expanded, statewide seminars prior to the start of the spring gobbler season and they have been very popular with both novice and experienced turkey hunters,” said Walter “Deet” James, the Wildlife Commission’s hunting heritage biologist. “New for 2017, we have combined both introduction and advanced segments into one seminar thereby eliminating redundancy and the need to attend multiple seminars. In short, we will continue to improve the cooperative seminar series based on conservation partner and attendee feedback.”

The statewide season for male or bearded turkey only is April 8 through May 6, with a youth-only week from April 1-7. Regulations and restrictions on turkey hunting, including information on youth season, are available in the 2016-17 Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest.

For additional information, contact James at 919-707-0059; mobile, 984-202-1387 or

Visit and click on the “What to Hunt” link for information about wild turkeys in North Carolina.