TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Purdue Prof: Academic Rigor Reinforces White Male Heterosexual Privilege And Should Be Replaced With 'Alternative Conceptualizations For Evaluating Knowledge'

Donna Riley (Purdue), Rigor/Us: Building Boundaries and Disciplining Diversity with Standards of Merit:

Rigor is the aspirational quality academics apply to disciplinary standards of quality. Rigor's particular role in engineering created conditions for its transfer and adaptation in the recently emergent discipline of engineering education research. ‘Rigorous engineering education research’ and the related ‘evidence-based’ research and practice movement in STEM education have resulted in a proliferation of boundary drawing exercises that mimic those in engineering disciplines, shaping the development of new knowledge and ‘improved’ practice in engineering education. Rigor accomplishes dirty deeds, however, serving three primary ends across engineering, engineering education, and engineering education research: disciplining, demarcating boundaries, and demonstrating white male heterosexual privilege.

Understanding how rigor reproduces inequality, we cannot reinvent it but rather must relinquish it, looking to alternative conceptualizations for evaluating knowledge, welcoming diverse ways of knowing, doing, and being, and moving from compliance to engagement, from rigor to vigor.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2017/12/purdue-engineering-professor-says-academic-rigor-reinforces-white-male-heterosexual-privilege-and-sh.html

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Comments

It is difficult to critique such an illogical mess. Let's look at "welcoming diverse ways of knowing, doing, and being, and moving from compliance to engagement, from rigor to vigor." As my long ago Logic professor would say "Semantic content, nil."

"Rigor accomplishes dirty deeds....demonstrating white male heterosexual privilege." Does this mean non-heterosexuals and non-whites have no rigor? Perhaps they have vigor?

This person does not represent every academic. But this is one of the reasons that more and more people are coming to despise academics. If they do not actually make such statements, they are to terrified to denounce this steaming pile.

George Orwell's statement that "Some ideas are so stupid only an intellectual could believe them" is unfortunately proved over and over.

Posted by: aircav65 | Dec 12, 2017 6:52:19 AM

If someone wanted to tar women and minorities as incapable and inferior, how could she do it better than Donna Riley?

Posted by: Curmudgeonly Ex-Clerk | Dec 12, 2017 7:57:21 AM

The scariest thing is that she is an engineering professor. How would you like to traverse a bridge or fly in an airplane designed by her students? Reality cannot be ignored, there are right and wrong answers no matter how much that hurts the feelings of every snowflake out there.

Maybe that infamous troll Milo is right... feminism is cancer (at least in its current incarnation).

Posted by: Todd | Dec 12, 2017 8:06:11 AM

Dribble! If you can't survive on merit, then choose another endeavor.

Posted by: Tom N | Dec 12, 2017 8:49:43 AM

Don't forget the disparate impact of Newton's Second Law Of Motion on People of Mass. That law needs to be repealed!

Posted by: AMTbuff | Dec 12, 2017 9:23:48 AM

Wish I had institutional access to the publication. Based on the abstract, I get the sense that there's more to this than may be obvious to those without training in pedagogy and/or engineering (I have formal training in neither). I don't think "rigor", here, is just a synonym for "difficulty" or "challenge".

Posted by: Cody Sametshaw | Dec 12, 2017 10:27:04 AM

"Rigor accomplishes dirty deeds... demonstrating white male heterosexual privilege."

Pseudoscience.

"We cannot reinvent it but rather must relinquish it, looking to alternative conceptualizations for evaluating knowledge, welcoming diverse ways of knowing, doing, and being."

Camouflage.

Posted by: MM | Dec 12, 2017 6:49:21 PM

When are we going to have intellectual diversity in higher education.

Posted by: Chris | Dec 13, 2017 3:19:53 AM

More whining from those incapable of mathematical precision, sound logic, and analysis. They should stick to more subjective subjects like art appreciation.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Dec 13, 2017 4:09:12 AM

Fortunately, the nuttiness of her ideas are obscured by the impenetrability of her writing. For example, "For rigor cannot be fully examined inside its own logic and episteme; it requires a critical ontology." Who could actually make their way through all this?

Posted by: sullivan2day | Dec 13, 2017 11:37:40 AM

This can't be real. She has to be trolling.

Posted by: Jacoby Wyatt | Dec 14, 2017 7:26:15 AM