Standing in front of his large white board, the Professor said, “At our last class, I asked you all to come in with the names of people you believe President-elect Trump should appoint to his Cabinet. Just hold on to those while I set the scene for you. I know you all think you are here to study political science, whatever that is. This is not a history class, or a forum for debates, or a course that will give you insights into the arcane ways our government and others have been formed.
“The only job this class will qualify you for is problem solving. Problem solving is the reason we have government departments and agencies. I’m not interested in your ability to write analytical articles or become renowned ‘talking heads.’ When you leave here you will not have my support in landing good jobs unless I believe you are equipped to define and solve problems. Nor do I want to turn out teachers. No one should teach anything until they have proven they can perform in their chosen field.
“That may be harsh but this class is not for the ‘cupcake generation.’ I teach here because this small university does not support cry zones or safe zones for students. Nor does it encourage political correctness. Diversity by itself is meaningless as is the widespread use of sound bites or talking points to spread an ideology or solution. You should leave here smarter and tougher than when you were accepted into this course. A high percentage of the students that preceded you went on to good and challenging positions. All of them left here better able to cope with the real world.
“Now that we know we are to become first-rate problem solvers, which is how successful people and organizations are judged, let’s identify the problems facing President-elect Trump. This white board is blank and is ready for you to write the problems we will attempt to solve in the next month, starting with Barbara, come to the board one by one and write one problem on the board.”
When all eight students had posted their problem on the board, the Professor said, “Copy these eight problems and then pass the names of your two top Cabinet candidates up to me. Then form two-person teams.”
When the students finished, the Professor said, “I will give each team two problems from the board and a selection of your candidate names. You may work on the problem anyway you want. But in two weeks, each team will use the names given to them to fill the Cabinet positions relevant to the assigned problems. You may use the rest of the class time to get started.”
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