At the SLA


Right now I’m in a hotel in Bloomington ready for the beginning of the IEA’s Summer Leadership Academy. This is the first time I’ve had the chance to go (I’ve been teaching every other summer since I got here) and I’m really quite looking forward to the information and experience. I’ll have a more in-depth response either tonight or tomorrow morning about it.

Secondly, if you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend you go listen to yesterday’s Morning Conversation with Glenn Poshard. He talks about a few different things, including the budget and his fears that there may actually be a rescission coming. What’s most telling, though, is the statement he makes when asked what he would say to summer graduates and new students in the fall:

Study hard, make good grades, and you’ll get that meal ticket into the American middle class–and that’s what a university education is all about.

Admittedly I am biased (no one pursues a PhD without some sort of love of learning) but I really wish the “good leaders” in the administration would at least attempt to propose the idea that learning for its own sake is valuable. Or at least that a liberal arts education — which ideally teaches creative thinking — is valuable. Instead, that sort of statement really emphasizes technical or vocational training as the only thing of value in a college education. Further, given the plethora of articles coming out of the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed, not to mention federal and state initiatives surrounding higher ed, the idea that education is a great equalizer is one of the biggest debates we have going right now. Which, speaking of, Inside Higher Ed interviews the author of yet another book on how education isn’t a “meal ticket” to the middle class. I also recommend you head over to Deo volente (if you haven’t already) and read Dave Johnson’s posts on Poshard’s interview.


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