Tag: higher education
Reading ancient languages requires slow and careful thinking and processing of a sort that we do not normally utilize in our pressure-cooker fast-consumer world.
Temperamentally and vocationally, I was in the wrong place. Yet I don’t regret a single day I spent there—not only because I met my wife, but because I learned to relish a simple, quiet way of living that many around us seem anxious to exceed.
Changing the phrase “field work” to “practicum” is, without more comprehensive action, a perfect illustration of cheap grace. It costs USC nothing more than some online eye-rolling to do.
People often want to ignore the complexity of that process, downplay how often interests conflict, and avoid confrontation. In this essay, I suggest we throw ourselves into the mess and hash it out—respectfully, in public, based on shared intellectual standards.
I came away from Steubenville, as I came away later from Grove City, with the startling idea that things are possible. Small things; local things; putting two things together, not all things but two things.
Reviving campus newspapers and radio stations and student-led clubs, and putting resources behind them, could create more space for speech, help foster campus community, and model a level of comfort with differing views. The classroom may still need adjustment, but antagonistic wrangling with, or under the gaze of, professors is not the path to enlightenment.
One gets the clear sense from Montás that these voices from the past are not just texts with trivial information, but real presences, real friends who have had a significant role in shaping, forming Montás’ life. And if any core program is going to work, it needs men and women like Montás who are the living, breathing embodiment of a life made richer by true fellowship with this great “democracy of the dead,” to borrow Chesterton’s phrase.
Montás deserves great credit for illuminating the perverse priorities of American higher education throughout Rescuing Socrates. It must be admitted, however, that the book suffers from occasional missteps. A fuller engagement with the history of the liberal arts than Montás musters would have enriched the book.
Thinking as a practice places a check upon the self. It offers us a way out of our "res idiotica." If our universities are faithful to their missions, they must foster conditions where truth is free to be heard and sought.
When I first started teaching at a community college, I had no idea of the types of non-traditional students I would meet. Their resilience and motivation made me wonder if a non-traditional route is actually better, at least for some.