chapter  8
22 Pages

- Arrogance and Ignorance

Sometimes you hear a phrase that just sounds so correct that you immediately think of just where that phrase should be applied. Such is the case for a phrase that originated with the president of my university. Michael Crow has led Arizona State University for more than a decade now, and he is known quite widely for the directions he has taken the university. He is molding us into what he calls the “New American University.” Along the way, we have received a great deal of new publicity and recognition, and both the physical plant and the student body has grown accordingly. But some of his ideas are at odds with those of many other leaders, some of whom have beliefs still stuck at those of a university of some years past. Crow was giving a talk at a morning meeting of leaders from the west side of the Phoenix metroplex. In the talk, at least as it was reported in the newspapers, he was addressing the principles of the “New American University.” Along the way, he commented that some of his east coast colleagues disagreed with his views, and then noted that some of these easterners were best characterized as “arrogantly ignorant.” Wow. We always knew that he could be

blunt and plain speaking, but when reading the press report, I immediately knew exactly what he was talking about (as may be seen in the title of this chapter). It was clear that I had to adapt the phrase to describe a number of items, some of which are discussed in this chapter. The phrase describes an entire mindset in a succinct and direct manner, but I have modified it a little bit to be more descriptive of a broader range of thinking.