There are things in my head that I know to be true but they aren’t. Maybe that happens to you, too.
Most of the time, it doesn’t matter so much. If I gobble up blueberries thinking they prevent tooth decay when actually they are helpful in avoiding macular degeneration, well, I like blueberries and my vision will be better. No harm, no foul. I am also quite sure that the filled long johns at Tee’s increase my life expectancy, but that’s a different story.
But sometimes, wrong information is disastrous. If I think the days of the gold standard were bliss and tell my economics students that, it can be disastrous. The gold standard is highly deflationary in times of world economic growth, leading to panics and recession and highly inflation whenever the mother lode comes in. There are also inter-country balance of payments problems that make the euro issues look minor in comparison. I certainly don’t want our students leaving UST recommending creating a gold-based drachma to solve the problems of Greece.
On a more local scale there seem to be pieces of (mis)information in our community that negatively affect our climate. Some of them have surfaced in the focus group work preparatory to the climate survey to be undertaken this month.
Two “facts” stand out involve students of color. Another involves recruiting. So, try my quiz – Myth or Fact:
- The undergraduate student body is less diverse than the local population – myth or fact?
- St. Thomas has no special programs to recruit or support veterans – myth or fact?
- St. Thomas does not recruit nationally for faculty and upper level staff – myth or fact?
They are all myths, of course. Freshmen were 14 percent people of color this year (Quick Facts on the website). St. Thomas participates strongly in programs that support veterans returning to higher educational opportunities. All faculty and upper-level staff openings must be advertised nationally, and the university’s Recruiting for Diversity policy has very helpful suggestions for improving the hiring of underrepresented groups in all areas.
Which brings me to question No. 4:
Communication at St. Thomas could stand some improvement – myth or fact?