Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Remembering My Own Education

I just finished reading an article from Huffington Post about what U.S. college students are not learning in school.  By the time I reached the end of the article, I thought about my own college experience.  In all honesty, I feel like I received an education at Hampden-Sydney, and it was an education both within and without the classroom. I know that there are many schools that are considered better than Hampden-Sydney, and they in fact may be.  However, I appreciated the fact that I was taught by my actual professor (I was a Teaching Assistant all throughout graduate school), and that he or she actually graded my work.  I also appreciated being in such an intimate environment of learning. 

I remember hating the Rhetoric Program at Hampden-Sydney, for example, because I felt that I had the tools necessary to write effectively (I didn't).  I also think that my largest class had approximately 25 men.  I loved the fact that my academic experience, give or take specific courses, was similar to what other Hampden-Sydney students experienced since the American Revolutionary era.  That continuity is incredible.

With all of the talk about the need for people to go to college to be successful in this world, I think that we should pause and ask a question:  Is the goal of a college education simply to train someone for work, or is it to provide an overall education?  It is a question in need of an answer as we move further into the 21st century, and the requirements of the work environment evolve.

Here is a link to the Council for Aid to Education that conducts the Collegiate Learning Assessment.

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