How is doctoral Education Like Science Fiction?

I couldn’t get an old science-fiction story out of my mind. It told the story of a special school whose programs were designed to educate that tiny elite of the galaxy’s population capable of exploring the edges of the universe. With a laptop and a search engine at my disposal, I found my way back to “Academy for Pioneers,” by Raymond F. Jones (1956). The plot was simple. The academy was an elaborate hoax designed to make it possible for students to learn the unteachable. Although faculty members did not know how to instill judgment, spontaneity, or improvisation in the face of surprise and uncertainty, they did understand the conditions their students could not possibly tolerate. Only by requiring all candidates to undergo an education designed to appall truly elite candidates to the point of rebellion could the school ultimately identify those who were capable of learning to engage with the unknown (Shulman, 2010, p.1)”

How is doctoral education similar to the movie Academy for Pioneers?




Shulman, Lee. (2010, April 4). Doctoral Education Shouldn’t Be a Marathon. (Barkat, J. contributor). The Chronicle Review.

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