What is considered Academic has changed over time and over the objections of dogmatic purists. From its humble beginning as only the study of the teachings of Socrates it has grown to include many disciplines: List of academic disciplines - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
First Latin and ancient Greek in the “men of letters period”
Then law and clerical matters during the “gown vs. town phase”
Math and history topics were added in both of the above eras. After all you can only spend so much time reading Plato and there were many great Greek philosophers. Engineering was in the early renaissance as well as the arts, which snuck under the umbrella in the late 1500’s. With the explosion of scientific investigation in the late 1700s and early 1800 and the dawn of the industrial age, all that technical stuff offended the sensibilities of the landed gentry so the applied Science including engineering were out. This demotion spawned the derogatory uses of the term academic. The applied sciences have for the most part have been bestowed academic status once again. Now Physical and Vocational education are making the case for inclusion with solid arguments: the subject matter is taught in colleges, and the question of what’s the difference between dance class and gym class or Bio tech in the science department and computer tech in the vocational department?
boy was that academic or what :-)