Reactive or Proactive Policy

What triggered this:

I have been finding dialogue in this class and this forum very interesting. The tone that is set in class is one of disrespect for everyone - Joe-Six Pack is derided almost every class by Prof, as well as the town of Eugene, the U of O, and stupid students, and the rest of the world. I find this an astonishing message to be passing on to college students. Joe Six-Pack is our neighbor, perhaps our co-worker, co-student, or parent. How do we expect to engage in dialogue that will make a difference, that will foster understanding about the state of the world, when students are taught that derision and scorn are an acceptable attitude toward those people who know less than you do? If students are missing a concept of respect, some of it is coming directly from you, Prof, and people like you who seem to be missing the concept of what it takes to achieve understanding in the real world. This seems as grave as the world's lack of understanding of science, perhaps more so, because we have charged you with educating tomorrow's leaders. We will not change Joe Six-pack by calling him that. Prof has the audacity to complain about students treating each other adversarially. How can you model such little respect, but expect it in others? Some of us are paying attention and care, but what we are hearing is not very inspiring.

My Response:

That's a really cheap shot and completely misses the point. The tone in class is not one of dis-respect at all its one of trying to raise issue of substance to make it clear why environmental problems are so difficult to solve. Comments like this just completely eliminate any reason to teach a class like this.

This class is about understanding some of the factors which preclude convergence on environmental issues. One of the prime factors is a failure to focus the discussion around the actual data and a failure for media, in general, to report the data.

As a result we have a culture that is reactive not proactive . The comments and perceptions expressed in this forum are an excellent manifestation of that and as such serves as a valuable teaching tool.

Its not about knowing less than someone else - its about the process that one goes thorugh to *learn* about environmental problems. Are you happy with our progess in this area? If not, what can be done to change that? I am intersted in how to solve problems. To do that requires paying attention and defining the root of the problem with data and dialogue. Unfortunately, you have chosen not to hear any of this and instead think that I have another purpose and that the intent of this class is something which it most definitely is not. This is the reactive part that I am talking about.

There really is no point for me to teach this class, if what you say is true. Is there?

George Carlin's view: Those guys say that they have a bigger penis than we do Bomb 'em.

This effects Environmental Management in a profound way.

The reactive vs. proactive problem is also true in the private sector. Unfortunately, as we tend to progress "up the ladder" we get positive feedback for handling "problems" while sometimes receiving no feedback for planned (proactive) responses to potential situations or new opportunities. As long as the private sector continues to incent reactive responses, they will continue to be the standard respones!

Example: A proactive response is one in which I make a course pack of the material available. But this goes unnoticed instead students will complain in a "reactive" manner in a particular lecture which has been slightly modified is not posted when they want it posted.

Example: Business world example: quite relevant


The major change agents currently in education are problems and crises. And American education is in crisis. This causes the whole process to be one of reacting to the crisis rather than planning for improvement without crisis looking over our shoulder and telling us to hurry. (Kargar, p. 3). These rush planning jobs just do not get the job done.

--highly applicable to the UO.