Brace yourselves Aussies! Yes, go ahead have a bracer, a good strong one. Now get ready to face palm. Ready?
Australia isn’t a country! Hard to believe I know but bear with me. Australia is a continent, and island if you will but not a country. This isn’t my opinion. I studied political science at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater USA. (UWW). So I’m aware that Australia, is in fact a country, a nation state. Or as we say in the PS. world a state, an actor on the world state. It has a system of government, borders, laws, a military to defend the borders, various ethnic groups that make up the populace, traditions, social institutions, I could go on but why labor the point.
Hey how do you manage to walk around upside down all the time? (snark)
Well it seems that at least one U.S. university professor–a real live PhD disagrees or at least disagreed with that whole country business. She did and it cost her her job. This professor gave out an assignment that required students to compare social norms between the good old United States, and another
continent er, country. Ashley Arnold, chose Australia, the country, continent, island etc.
Ashley Arnold, 27, who is studying toward an online sociology degree at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), was “shocked” to learn she had failed an assignment, part of which required students to compare social norms between the United States and any other country – in her case Australia. Arnold was downgraded because her professor believed “Australia is a continent; not a country.”
Right now I want to say that the professor is not identified. I also want to say that though this professor was a woman, this is not a reflection on all women professors. I preferred the women professors, and had many many good ones. This story should also not be used to judge the professor in her area of expertise (Philosophy). However, it should say volumes about her geopolitical acumen, and her google fu abilities. I do understand that professors are busy very busy. This particular professor holds a lecturers position which means that she is grossly under paid, and wildly overworked. She may teach at several different universities in the area and earn less that $20,000 in a year with which she will use to service crippling debt. What is problematic with this professor is that she was slow on the uptake, and a little bit vindictive.
To address the professor’s apparent ignorance, Arnold sent a series of emails containing references from the school’s library which clearly stated Australia is both a continent and a country. Arnold even referred her to a section of the Australian government’s webpage called “About Australia” that said “Australia is an island continent and the world’s sixth largest country (7,682,300 sq km).” (not to put to fine a point on it)
Arnold eventually received a passing grade, a B+ which is rather insulting since she managed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Australia, is a country which is found on the continent of the same name, and she enlightened the instructor just a little bit.
After reviewing Arnold’s paper the professor gave her a new grade of a B+, but never apologized, merely acknowledging that she had a “misunderstanding about the difference between Australia as a country and a continent.”
Southern New Hampshire University on the other hand took the matter a few steps farther:
“We deeply regret the interaction between our professor and our student. We have apologized to Ashley, replaced the instructor & are reimbursing her tuition for the course,” SNHU said on Twitter. “To our friends in Australia, we know that you are a country and a continent, best of luck in the Olympic Games!”
So with that I too will apologize to all the people down under. I’m sorry for my fellow citizens ignorance about your great country. Some time in the future I will regale you with the story of how the United States Marine Corp color guard marched onto a baseball diamond during the “World Series” between Canadian baseball team and a US team carrying the Majestic Canadian Maple Leaf National Flag upside down. It was not an intentional insult yet it had the same effect. This from a nation that worships it flag.