Letter to the editor: ‘Fuzzy-techie’ panel misunderstood

May 10, 2018, 8:48 p.m.

As the person who organized the Apr. 30 panel, “Fuzzy and Techie: A False Divide?” I would like to address some of the misunderstandings that seem to have surfaced about the purpose of this event and the composition of the panel. Some of these were implicit in Anat Peled’s article covering the event, and were then amplified in a letter to the editor by a faculty member a couple of days later.

Just to clarify: the purpose of the event was not to have a general discussion between “fuzzies” and “techies.” Nor was it a panel “on the uneven financial rewards for spending the undergraduate years in technological training (techie) versus devoting time to, say learning languages or studying humanity’s great literary and artistic treasures.” It was to highlight the fact that within the tech world, there is a growing need for people with a wide range of skills, intellectual interests and backgrounds. Anyone who has read Scott Hartley’s book, “The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World,” (and if you haven’t, I highly recommend it), knows that this is his message: the supposed divide between “fuzzies” and “techies” is misguided. In today’s world, everyone needs both sets of skills and capacities. That is why we included on the panel only people who have been successful entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley–they are best positioned to convey the message that, even in the tech world, “fuzziness” matters–a lot.

I will readily concede that the panel could have been better. Not every one of the speakers addressed the theme of the panel as forcefully or effectively as they might have. But to anyone who was there and listening carefully, I think the message came through quite clearly. If you weren’t able to be there, a video of the event can be found here: https://youtu.be/8cr1lA6OVCY.

I encourage you to watch it and decide for yourselves.


Louis Newman

Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Director, Undergraduate Advising and Research


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