Education & Liberal Learning

There’s Equality, and There’s Equality

valley_usold2 January 6, 2014

In one of my favorite movies, John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley, …a family of coal miners is faced with the prospect of lower wages handed out by the owners of the mine, because the closing of the ironworks

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The Liberal Arts and the Educational Technology of Language

Uncle_Sam_(pointing_finger) December 9, 2013

THE PRESIDENT HAS AN ASSIGNMENT FOR YOU:…
This is what the bold text on the whitehouse.gov website tells us as it proudly heralds a new national “Student Film Contest”.   Next to the headline we find an image of the benevolently-smiling

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The Uselessness of Liberal Education: An Apology

maecenas-presenting-the-liberal-arts-to-emperor-augustus-1743 October 28, 2013

It is necessary for the perfection of human society that there should be men who devote their lives to contemplation.
–St. Thomas Aquinas
 The trouble with mere pragmatism is that it doesn’t work.
–G. K. Chesterton
I would like to…

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The Bar Jester Assesses Assessment

amdxxbc01mc October 16, 2013

Believe in something that is good, true, and beautiful.

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Community among Academics: An Economist’s Retrospective

Pepperdine_University September 6, 2013

Two weeks ago I spoke to an orientation program for new faculty at Pepperdine. I shared with them what I had been told at my new faculty orientation nineteen years before. Back then, I had just spent four years as…

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On Killing (Chickens)

rooster August 26, 2013

Hidden Springs Lane.… Last weekend the deed was done. Having acquired 25 chicks in the spring (they were free) it soon became clear that this was, as they say, a mixed run. That is, the chicks were not separated by

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In Search of the Real Coolidge

calvin-coolidge-whitehouse August 13, 2013

Our interest in historical subjects says as much about our society as about the subjects themselves.  The growing interest in the life, thought and presidency of Calvin Coolidge issues from frustration with contemporary politics and politicians—none so much as Barack…

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Everywhere at Once, Nowhere at All

504653_businessman_looking_at_his_pda July 30, 2013

“Right now, the main thing I’m taking from this conference is that PowerPoint is destroying the educational process.”
The conference, organized around the theme of “Technology and Human Flourishing,” was held under the aegis of Baylor University’s annual Symposium on…

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Life Under Compulsion: Play and No Play

baseball June 10, 2013

In East Bangor, Pennsylvania (pop. 800), there’s a little diner named for the trolley that used to take people to the once bustling steel town of Bethlehem.  The proprietors have adorned the walls with photographs of other local things that…

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Life Under Compulsion: Noise

play May 20, 2013

The child’s language is melodious.  The words hide and protect themselves in the melody – the words that have come shyly out of the silence.  They almost disappear again in the silence.  There is more melody than content in the …

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On Not Knowing Nothing: Mastery and Expertise

May 17, 2013

I belong to a guild. As such, I’m recognized by its practitioners as a peer, a fellow, even, like them, a master. By this I do not mean anything remotely self-aggrandizing, not  suggesting I am an exemplar or even a…

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The Locale and Grace of Teaching

books May 6, 2013

I’ve not yet decided if I’ve succumbed to despair (a sin) or prudence, but I no longer participate in any of the forums at my campus about online education, MOOCs, virtual office hours, assessment, and the countless other distractions from…

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Whither the Public Library?

library April 1, 2013

Despite constant speculation about public libraries’ “relevan[ce] in the digital age,” and serious budget cuts caused by the recent recession, the American public library is not in crisis. Local governments have made no effort to drop libraries as a basic…

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Catholic Education Today: Scientiam Viarum Tuarum Nolumus

Hell & Its Torments March 8, 2013

About a month ago I happened upon a copy of The Concord…, student newspaper of Bellarmine University. In particular my eye was caught by a letter to the editor whereby undergraduate Wesley Scott addressed a contraversial 4.9% tuition raise.

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What Does the Boss Really Do? Business Education and the Liberal Arts

boss March 7, 2013

An address given to the Ciceronian Society at Mount St. Mary’s University, March 3.
At the start of each semester, I ask my MBA students, “What are you here for? An education or a credential?” The students neither hesitate nor…

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An Ancient Legacy of Form: Guardini on Mastery and Nearness

Ship_in_full_sail_by_Munin February 26, 2013

Our dwelling place is the state not of nature but of culture.

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