Petraeus Prerequisites

So the man whose course description reads thus—

In this interdisciplinary seminar, students will examine in depth and then synthesize the history and trends in diverse public policy topics with a view towards recommendations for America’s leadership role in the emerging global economy.

—has the gall to include in his course prerequisite this:

Excellent writing and presentation skills are a must, as is the ability to work well as part of a team.

I don’t begrudge Petraeus that “ability to work well as part of a team.” With his platoon of TAs, he clearly can do that. But the excellent writing skills?

Incidentally, the course is limited to 16 students.  How many TAs has Petraeus been given to administer, run, and grade for the course?

As Kieran Healy said on Facebook:

Time was, a professional bullshitter like Tom Friedman would pretend to be a military commander like David Petraeus. Now it’s the other way around.

Update (9:30 am)

Samir Chopra has an excellent post on this whole affair. But this quote that he cites, from Benno Schmidt, just takes the cake:

The faculty needs to learn that in order to get good work done at the university, you need to pay good money. If they think that’s expensive, they’ll find out just how expensive it is to not pay good money.


  1. Clifford Smith July 11, 2013 at 10:27 am | #

    Surely you wouldn’t need any TAs for a class of 16.

  2. Tammerie Day July 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm | #

    Excellent writing and presentation skills among your students is VERY important if you are planning on using their work in the future. I.e., ripping off their intellectual property without having to do too much to it. Just sayin’ …

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