Canterbury Lecturer's Controversial Slide: Arts is Easier than Engineering

A lecture slide which was meant to be a joke sparked a debate between advocates of both the fields on Twitter.
Kashyap Vyas

The University of Canterbury is becoming a subject of talks between the teachers and students alike. These talks aren’t about the university as such, but of a professor’s tweet. Although, this time the controversy is not related to race, sex or identity, but is due to a Canterbury lecturer who presented a slide claiming that gaining an Arts degree is “easy.”

Twiterrati couldn’t stop talking about this after Luke Goode, associate professor in media and communication at the University of Auckland tweeted a photo of the slide with a caption, “Dear Canterbury Uni NZ arts colleagues: apparently, this is how your engineering colleagues think it's appropriate to talk about you and your students to their new students.”


Many students have come forward expressing their views about the slide. The pro-vice-chancellor professor Jan Evans-Freeman and the Jonathan le Cocq, the professor of contemporary arts have apologized for the comment. They said that the slide “fosters a misconception about the value of our disciplines and the relationship between them.”

Students from the Canterbury University have said that many teachers do poke fun at different fields of study, but all for some good humor. Several students feel that the whole thing has been taken widely out of context and it should be left alone as it is.

Even Goode made a comment saying that the slide was intended to serve as “harmless banter”, then again, it showed a stroke of anti-intellectualism. There have been several different responses to the tweet got old overtime.

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The response from Twitter was mixed. Some people did support Goode, while some took it as a joke.



Goode believes that the New Zealand society regards engineering or science-based fields higher than the other fields. He made it clear by saying:

"I'm sorry if any person or institution felt singled out for criticism. It was just an example of a much wider problem with the way non-science subjects are devalued in our society.”

"The arts include diverse subjects across the humanities, social sciences, and languages. But the controversy revealed how widely arts is misunderstood as just the study of art."

He also stated there is a trend within the society that divides the students based on this futile difficulty prejudice.

Goode stated that by posting the tweet, his motive wasn’t to reticule any one. He said, “Unfortunately, the tweet generated much futile bickering about which academic subjects are 'harder' and which students are 'smarter.' The real issue I was trying to raise was the importance of mutual respect for the different skills and contributions of all subjects.”