Adrift of(f) course: An exploration of metaphor and *methodology and writing research

Timothy William Gerken, Fordham University


This dissertation is adrift as it is about the City University of New York (CUNY), which was declared "adrift" by the Mayor's Advisory Task Force (MATF) on CUNY in their report "The City University of New York: An Institution Adrift." Literalizing the metaphor adrift is the major focus of this dissertation. I hope that by demonstrating a different way to think about adrift, we can change the way we think about CUNY, its students, and research in the social sciences. I use a narrative methodology suggested by Clandinin and Connelly (2000) to explore the metaphor adrift, the process of writing a dissertation, and the boundaries of writing research in the social sciences. These three streams flow throughout the dissertation. They provide tension, and an opportunity for the research to be social action. Dewey, Rorty, Deleuze, Rosenblatt, Lyotard, Miller, Galbraith, Rich, Bruner, Ginsberg, Ashbery, and Bambara are just a few of the voices represented in the text. Philosophers, poets, fiction writers, and social scientists all make claims about the world. I have tried to represent their claims and make strong connections between them. The connections demonstrate the importance of interaction and growth. This philosophical study began by exploring the MATF report, which recommended the ending of remediation in all CUNY senior colleges. It also suggested that CUNY begin using standardized tests as part of the admissions requirements at the senior colleges. The CUNY Board of Trustees (BOT) adopted these recommendations in 1999 closing the door on the students the original open admissions policy was designed to help. The new policy also impedes the interaction and growth CUNY experienced as a result of the open admissions policy begun in 1970. The implications of the study suggest that the new rules established by the CUNY BOT, which keep qualified students from attending a senior college be abolished; the admissions criteria be expanded beyond the standardized tests currently being used; and, social science research methodologies become friendlier with the ideas suggested by the Arts and Humanities. Our society grows with more educational opportunity and more hopeful policies.

Subject Area

Higher education|Educational theory

Recommended Citation

Gerken, Timothy William, "Adrift of(f) course: An exploration of metaphor and *methodology and writing research" (2006). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3210265.