Lawrence University is in the process of hiring new professors this Spring Term. In the fall, along with a new freshman class, a few new professors will be joining our ranks. In the past year, a large number of students have designed their own majors. The most popularly crafted major was the pseudoscience major. This recent change has had a large impact on the search process for hiring new professors.
Lawrence will not only be making pseudoscience an official major at Lawrence, but will also bring in three new professors in the fall. The specialties of these incoming professors are astrology, phrenology and paranormal activities. One new class offered in the fall will be Astrology 360, cross-listed as English 269, which has its students writing horoscopes every week. The final project for this class will be a self-assessment in the form of a natal chart. Another class will be Phrenology 285, cross-listed as a history class. Some pseudoscience majors are outraged that it is cross-listed as a history class, as they feel that is an insult to the whole pseudoscience department. One anonymous student said, “Listing it as a history course challenges the practice of phrenology. It is still alive and well today.” In this class, the professor plans to have students measure each other’s heads and then perform intelligence tests to see if there are any correlations. The professor hopes to prove once and for all that skull shape and size measures intelligence. There will also be a fortune telling class, Fortune Telling 120, for freshmen only. The class is largely discussion based, and at the end of the term, the professor will predict each freshman’s future for their time at Lawrence. There are some ethical concerns with this class, however, as the prediction that students will drop out may lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. If a student were to drop out after receiving this fortune, it could reflect poorly on the university.
One issue this new change faces is finding a building for the department. Stietz and Youngchild halls have firmly declined the department access to their buildings. When declining the proposal that the pseudoscience department join the sciences, the faculty in Youngchild Hall controversially stated, “This isn’t real science. Please get out.” This caused a stir in the pseudoscience majors. An anonymous source said that the pseudoscience majors are planning to form a protest in front of the science buildings.
While there have been a lot of roadblocks, there are a few who remain optimistic about this new major. The Dean of the Careers, Engagement in the World and Living, Joe Schmoe has expressed an abundance of enthusiasm for this new program. Schmoe reported, “There has been an estimated 3.7 percent growth in career opportunities for fortune tellers. In addition, I can only imagine that newspapers around the country are looking for horoscope writers. I haven’t looked into the job growth numbers for the newspaper industry, but I have high hopes for that as well.” Schmoe thinks that this program will help students to form lifelong skills. He thinks these majors will never struggle to find jobs once they have graduated.
Lawrence prides itself on allowing students to pursue their interests. While many are not enthused for this new major, it fits nicely within Lawrence’s purpose of turning its students into well-rounded individuals. When we asked the new paranormal professor what the future of this department will be, she said, “Results are foggy. Ask again later.”