What have you learned about life?
by Michael LaBossiere (Florida A&M)
Some years ago my life was at a terrible low point. My marriage was failing, my career seemed stagnant, and I was stuck in what seemed to be a sea of bleak misery. Many of my problems seemed to stem from my reluctance to do bad things and the willingness of others to prosper through misdeeds.
One morning, when things seemed to be at their lowest point, I went for a run. As I ran, I thought about my life and how I ended up in the situation I faced. In the past, I believed that a person should do what is right—even when it often seems like doing wrong has the greater reward. But, I had seen the rewards of trying to be good and those reaped by those who thought just about themselves. At that moment, I doubted the value of trying to be a good person. Continue reading “Tree of Memory”
What would you tell your teenage self?
by Steve Halasz
It’s 1966 and you’re excited and nervous about starting your first year at Hiram, a small liberal arts college on a pleasant hill in Ohio that has a well-deserved reputation for intellectualism. As your 64 year old self, I know what’s coming and so I’m writing to clue you in.
You are going to Hiram because (1) it’s a charming campus with lovely old buildings on a sweet hillside with a great view of the countryside, (2) it’s not far from home, (3) you got a scholarship, (4) Harvard didn’t accept you. But mostly, you’re going there because you are an intellectual, and there are few places in the U.S. where intellectuals are Continue reading “Get a Clue, College-Bound!”
How do you teach people to do the right thing?
by Brooke Allen (Q4Colleges.com)
The unspoken contract when you are hitch-hiking is that you need to be more interesting than the radio. One summer (circa 1973), Debra and I decided to see how far away from New Brunswick, New Jersey we could get when all we had was $49 and three weeks.
We knew that repeating your own life story over and over gets repetitious so we used a little trick. We would ask each person who gave us a ride to tell us their story and then we would tell the next person the previous person’s story. Continue reading “You do not need permission to do the right thing. No one can give you permission to do the wrong thing.”
How do you get the most out of college?
by Brian Strow (Western Kentucky)
A flourishing life is not one dimensional. It involves the search for truth and a striving for self-awareness/ self-improvement. It requires the development of one’s mind, body, and soul. A flourishing life requires faith, exudes hope, and shows love to others. It also requires a broadly defined definition of education.
Self-improvement should be a lifelong passion. Universities and colleges offer a unique development opportunity where students are enabled, and encouraged, to embrace their flourishing in a meaningful way. Universities and colleges are not meant to produce perfect graduates, but rather people who are better equipped to pursue their view of a flourishing life. Too often students obtain their degree without actually Continue reading “For Love AND Money”
What should colleges teach?
By: Brooke Allen (Q4Colleges.com)
The problem with talking about Intellectual Virtues is that it can give intellectuals the feeling they are virtuous when they are just talking.
Colleges might not think of themselves as being in the business of teaching virtues (like honesty, courage, fairness, wisdom, and love of the truth) but the fact is they can reinforce or squash good instincts. For example, a student I know wrote a college admissions essay that began with a graphic description of the earth under attack by aliens when he, as super-hero, arrived to save the day. His essay concluded by saying he wanted to go to college to save the world.
Three years into college I introduced the student to the Heroic Imagination Project (www.HeroicImagination.org). Its founder, Dr. Phillip Zimbardo, wrote to the student asking how they might work together to change the world. The student wrote to me, “I’d rather not change the course of history than risk changing it for the worse.” I can not tell you how imagined courage become timidity but I can tell you when and where it happened.
Question: How can the people at colleges do a better job teaching courage? Continue reading “The Problem with Talking about Intellectual Virtues”
Are students learning the best way?
by Marshall T. Poe (University of Iowa)
Although we often forget it, reading is a profoundly unnatural act. We were not evolved to read. Eyes are for seeing, ears are for hearing, but we have nothing specifically designed for reading. That makes reading difficult in two ways. First, it’s hard to learn to read, largely because you have to rewire your brain to do it. That takes a lot of time and effort, so much so that some people never learn to read well at all. Second, even if you have learned to read well, it’s often not physically pleasurable. Natural selection gave us psychological reward systems that favor listening and watching. We generally like to listen and watch regardless of what we are listening to or looking at. In short, we were built to enjoy listening and watching more than reading. The proof of that is manifest. Over the Continue reading “Every Monograph a Movie”
What is your mission?
an Interview with Beth Adubato (Rutgers)
Q4Colleges: So what’s your personal mission and how did you come by it?
Beth: Well I was thinking about it and it sounds like a Miss America answer; I hate to say it but it’s really true. My personal mission is to make use of all the talents I was given, and try and help and inspire people to do the same. And to raise a child that has the same sense of caring about community. Continue reading “My Mission is to Use My Talents and Help Others do the Same”
How should you organize your life?
by Len Schlesinger (Babson)
The world was a very certain place when I was growing up in New York City. From an early age, I had my life planned out. Everything was marvelously scripted: I was going to go to a specialized high school; I was going to go to a great university; and I was going to be a lawyer. Despite the fact that my family had no money, through my academic performance I was able to excel in elementary school and junior high school and believed that I could do just about anything I wanted. And much of what I wanted came true. I went to an Ivy League college—and then I got to day one of law school and discovered that I had absolutely no interest in law as a career. Continue reading “Over Planning is Not the Answer in Today’s Uncertain World”
What kind of schools should students consider?
by Bruce B. Henderson (Western Carolina)
A longtime observer of higher education once called the regional state colleges and universities the “colleges of the forgotten Americans.” He meant that as a compliment, praising the regionals for democratizing American higher education. More often, the state regional universities (long known as the state comprehensive universities and now categorized as public master’s universities in the Carnegie system) have been the forgotten universities of America. In the literature on higher education, including much of the empirical research, books on university reform, and in the general higher education media, the state regional universities are frequently ignored. Research universities, liberal arts colleges, and even community colleges get more attention. In a rare instance when the Chronicle of Higher Education mentioned the regional universities they were described as “the undistinguished middle child of higher education.” Continue reading “Higher Education’s Forgotten Universities”
What kind of person are you?
by Curtis Perry (U of Illinois)
If you read this and come see me at the University of Illinois, I think you’ll find me to be generous and helpful but not chummy. I am myself a private and somewhat reserved person—which is why I’ve chosen to write about my scholarly rather than my personal life here—but I do like to be helpful and I love meeting earnest students who want to get the most out of their college experiences. Continue reading “The Pleasures of the Unfamiliar”