Imprimis: Links and Tidbits – 3 June 2011

This week: debates about the value of a degree, and some insights into acting.

  • There’s been quite a bit of hullabaloo in the news cycles recently about the value not just of a college education, but of the economic advantage given by one degree over another. Turns out that majors like engineering, math, and computer science earn 50% more than the humanities. (Cass says: Raise your hand if this comes as a major shock to you). The idea of “gainful employment” may soon be affecting how much college students pay for courses — or how much they’re allowed to receive in loans. (Choose a low-earning major? Like, say, English or education? Sorry; we’re cutting you off).
  • The humanities, however, aren’t taking this lying down. One clever article assumes Shakespeare’s voice for its rebuttal. Another op-ed states, “No matter how much they earn or don’t earn, no one can ever take from them their poetry, literature, music or art. Many, probably most, never lose their love of Shakespeare, Mozart, Cezanne or whatever the source of their youthful passions.” Cass says: And for my part, I’d rather have the job satisfaction I have right now than be making twice as much in a job that made me miserable.
  • And, for what it’s worth, President Obama’s new education plan includes strategies for teacher retention.
  • The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UC Santa Cruz reports exploding popularity for its adult-learning programs. The ASC encourages lifelong learning through programs at the Playhouse and by hosting excursions for the Road Scholars program.
  • British actress Eve Best, currently on stage at the Globe in Much Ado About Nothing, talks about performing Shakespeare, including this tidbit on cross-gender casting: “There’s something really interesting about crossing genders because you’re no longer caught in the sexual politics of your part… I think with some roles like Lady Macbeth and Isabella [in Measure for Measure] as an actress one is always trying to exonerate the character slightly. When you cross genders you don’t have to worry about that stuff – it’s unbelievably liberating.”
  • ABC News has a lovely piece on the art of acting, as voiced by 81-year-old actor Christopher Plummer, which includes thoughts on how his approach to acting Shakespeare has changed over time.