Some time ago I was written to by an Australian University asking me to become an Adjunct Professor in Journalism. This is an honorary position so, (paradoxically) it’s not much of an honour!
In any event, this is how the letter I received begins.
The University’s 2012-2016 Strategic Plan seeks to optimize community links to provide real solutions to society’s problems across a broad spectrum of disciplines, and to engage actively in the community to effect social change.
I guess I’m relieved that the solutions that the university intends to provide are real ones. Like I said on another occasion, “pretend is never good enough”. Anyway, I wonder if anyone could help me out here. What does the sentence mean? What “social change” is contemplated? Will it be change I can believe in?
Perhaps even more concerningly, my mind always goes to what is not said. If the solutions are real, what might they not be? Here are some words that don’t appear that may bode ill.
- “Sustainable”. This seems to me to suggest that while what will happen will be ‘real’, it will fall by the wayside – as in like not be like … sustained.
- “Robust”. If it’s not robust it might just be a bit of fairy floss. It might just kind of like, real enough but blow away. Like it won’t be sustainable. See above.
- “Realistic”. Realistic is different to ‘real’. Hitler’s invasion of Russia was real enough. Why it was so real, it even got it’s own name. Like ‘Operation Barbarossa’. But it was not, like, realistic. If something’s not realistic, well I think we know what the problem is. It won’t lead to change here in the real world. Parallel universe 487B perhaps, but here in the real world, with real jobs – not so much. No thank you!
- “Enhance”. It doesn’t seem that it will enhance anything. Even if it’s a game-changer, if it’s not a game-enhancer, well we’re all taking a pretty big risk. Pretty obviously, we could end up with a game that is changed but that hasn’t got any better – like ‘enhanced’. It could have got worse. Like worse than the original game – before it was changed. No enhancement? No thanks!
- “Jobs and growth”. There being no mention of either word borders on a lack of patriotism. Like where are the universities when we need them?
Should I be concerned about any of this?