In a break from the Collaboration…

With the holiday and snow/ice, we’ve had a few days away from our collaboration and have been working one on one with students but will gather back together tomorrow. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I read this (rather depressing) article about a new study on how much students are learning.

Thoughts about the reality of this at McDaniel?

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One Response to In a break from the Collaboration…

  1. Deb Vance says:

    Hi Gretchen and everyone who reads and lurks the CFE blog,

    I’ve been trying to catch up with campus news, having been on sabbatical this past semester, and what better place than the CFE blog. I’ve looked at the most recent posts and their links — with viral videos of profs losing it, to articles about students’ opinions of good assignments.

    It’s clear that the students are looking for some sort of payoff from their education — and with the financial meltdown, they aren’t assured of transforming their “credential” (as one of the essays put it) into a salary. That being said, the marketplace rhetoric — i.e., framing the process of higher education into business terms such as making the investment, getting a quality product, demanding efficient performance, etc. — is a hindrance to critical thinking. This is as true for the institution as it is for students. It’s an inappropriate metaphor for education, on any level. What we as faculty need to do is to impress upon students — as well as other publics, like parents and administrators — that the relationship between a college education and a successful life is holistic rather than linear. Unfettering the mind from cultural frameworks will give a perspicacity that opens up the world to them, and makes it their oyster (as my dad liked to say). Critical thinking needs to be outside the box, and requires effort and courage. A typical response to this is “I’m paying $150,000 to open my mind? What about a high-paying job?”
    Interesting question. Education doesn’t necessarily translate into higher salaries. Case in point: My son who didn’t complete college has been earning double my salary for quite some time now. At the same time, my son-in-law, in a different field, didn’t complete college either and is out of work and at a disadvantage.

    I read this article today, about corporate encroachment into higher education. It expands the context for this discussion:
    http://www.truth-out.org/beyond-swindle-corporate-university-higher-education-service-democracy66945

    To respond directly to this post, students are looking for useful information, having spent a lifetime of imbibing fragments of information that doesn’t seem to fit together. A liberal arts education can bring it all together for them. Just compare a McDaniel senior with a freshman and see for yourself.

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