May 27, 2009
Coming into this class my goals were those handed to me by the collegiate system and nothing more. All I wanted to do was complete the work and get a good grade in the class. The issue quickly took hold of, “What am I actually getting out of this class?” When I allowed myself simply be a passive learner I quickly found myself disinterested in the topics at hand, and more willing to pursue other topics that pervaded into my mind –critical topics that seemed to be more rooted in reality. I couldn’t –and can’t– change Cornell College from being the institution that it currently is. So the disinterest quickly turned to negligence, and what’s worse I began to define that negligence as something I was doing for a reason. I said to myself, “College isn’t worthwhile, you should be trying to have a direct effect on the world.”
It’s an easy misunderstanding. The meaning of college can become blurred, especially when you view it as simply trying to obtain a degree. That’s exactly what I did. The post-industrial corporate world is quick to snatch up accomplished students with degrees, but what does that mean? How does it affect the world if another student files through college, just completing the work, and moves on to a job in the corporate world similar to everyone else’s? How do I find personal meaning in my own life by falling into this pattern when there’s so much a young person could be doing for the world? Between searching for answers to questions that were unrelated to the class, and trying desperately to find the meaning of my progress in the educational system, it wasn’t long before work in the class began to seem frivolous.
That’s when I realized there was another side to the education system. A friend of mine pulled me aside one day and said, “You want to help people, yes? You want to change things? Well, even if you have beliefs about how you might do that, you need to learn to make an argument. The reason I’m so liked in the English department is because I can talk back to the teachers. They love to be proven wrong.” I wrote in my essay describing a liberation-based education system, but that’s not what we have. We’re not working to dialogue openly in the classroom, but we are in an academic argument with the teachers. If you want to join the corporate system and earn a comfortable life, that’s fine. But if you want to take the other path, that’s available to you too. That’s what I realized about college this block.
So I have to learn to take control of my education in full. I have to learn to develop retorts to material as I’m reading it. I have to learn to cooperate with my peers to find those I can work with who won’t passively accept things. I have to attend class daily and constantly be looking for new opportunities to speak back publicly against the system that I so thoroughly despise. And in the end, I’m not just going to be learning how to talk back to the teacher; I’m going to be learning how to talk back to society. If I stick with this plan of learning, I’m going to develop the skills I need to demonstrate to people why things need to change, how the system has gone wrong. This is the path I’m taking, and this is the outcome I’ve come to understand. I invite you to take whatever path you like.
May 27, 2009
I hope everyone has a GREAT summer!!!! c ya next year!
May 27, 2009
In order for first year students to become comfortable in the college setting, they will be required to take a first year only course. This class will be offered during the first semester, which will be mandatory for students to take. Although the curriculum will not be an easier than another class, it is a good idea for freshman to meet and help one another throughout the first semester at the school. In addition to this course, a writing intensive course must also be taken first semester. Writing at the college level is much harder, and more advanced than what was required in high school, therefore, understanding how to do this is extremely important at the earliest stage in your undergraduate career.
May 27, 2009
I am finishing up my final paper and I realized that I have really learned a lot about liberal arts schools in this class! The different authors we studied really gave me an insight of the trouble of putting together the “perfect” liberal arts institution for everyone (which I think is really impossible). Everyone has different objectives and needs. Just listening to the presentations in class today, I realized that all of us differed on what sort of student we really want to come into our college, and what type of students we want to graduate. To some, studying abroad was really important, while to others, studying a language could be considered something painful and depressing. I wonder if there is a balance? Looking at the programs I proposed, I am convinced that it will definitely be a horrible school for students who hate interaction and communication with others. So, perhaps there is no such thing as an “ideal” college. Or… perhaps we are at the most “ideal” school right now? Do we really hate the requirements of Cornell College? Or… are they really reasonable (or the most reasonable that they can probably be)?
Regardless, through this course, I truly learned what kind of literacy truly meant the most for me. While I highly doubt that I will create my own institution later on in life (well.. never say never!), I know what kind of “mission statement” I want myself to follow through my future exciting life journeys!
What did you receive the most from this class?
May 26, 2009
Hey guys i was having trouble writing my conclusion. I am not sure how to tie it back to the intro and broader concept needs to be addressed. Does anyone have any suggestions?
May 26, 2009
So, I am revising my “ideal liberal arts institution” and I realized that the best type of program should be based on trial and error. If things are done a certain way after a while and does not seem to work successfully, students should be encouraged to bring out the problems and request another way to get things accomplished. Even if things seem to be fitting the needs of the students, I still find change to be necessary to test out new hypothesis.
How do you all feel? Do you think that if a school finds a set curriculum that is successful they shouldn’t ever change it in order to maintain balance and the satisfaction of students? Or do you think that every school should “spice” things up once in a while in hopes to embrace new identities and passions? Will this change upset the professors?
May 26, 2009
As the world is getting more and more globally wide, people face a lot of different culture, and meet people who have different opinions. Not even just global level, but also there are a lot of issues that people argue against each other around us. The most important thing here is the way people argue about their opinions. It is true that everybody can talk their opinions to others who have different ideas with you. But the point is, they should respect that people can have different side with you. Thdy don’t need to agree with it, but respect their opinions too. Just shut one’s ear, insisting they are always right, will eventually break out conflicts and shut themselves from learning new areas of study.
May 25, 2009
I am just wondering whether or not should liberal arts education be all same-sex schools ? There is a controversial topics about it. Women are tend to be more outspoken and competitive when men are not around. Men tend to concentrate more on their study in a male class environment. Some opponents also suspect that same-sex schooling may push students into exploring homosexual relationships or something like that. Since each person learns differently, study’s decision should be made on their individual needs. In my opinion, the best educational setting for students may also be a same-sex school . What do you guys think about this ?
May 25, 2009
It seems silly to post twice in a row, but here goes anyway.
General education requirements force students to get a broad education, whether they want to or not. However, it’s not the only way to reach that goal. Academic advisers can be very useful in this context as well. An adviser cannot force a student to get a broader education (unless the academic adviser has to sign a student’s proposed plan for a BSS or something…), but can still influence a student’s choices, and perhaps broaden their education by a more subtle means than “you have to do this or you don’t graduate!” Maybe a balanced combination of requirements and advising would work well.
Also, about the BSS thing mentioned earlier: I understand that it works somewhat similarly to this at Cornell (I don’t know for sure how this goes down), but I like the idea of having some sort of a faculty board in charge of the BSS program, who would review a student’s proposal about what classes they want to take, and what their goals for their education are. I would say that both the academic advisor and the faculty board would have to review, possibly make suggestions, and sign the proposal of any student that wants to do the BSS program.
May 25, 2009
This is an idea that I’ve been using in my papers:
Society is a quickly changing thing, and I think the real point of liberal arts is to teach students to keep up with it. Someone who just wants job training goes to vocational or technical school, and learns the specific information that they need to do a particular job. Liberal arts schools however, try to teach students not specific information, but the concepts and theories behind that information. Also, it’s not training for one particular job, but learning about many different fields. The benefit of a liberal arts education shows up when the specific information that tech school students learn changes on them. New technology, new people, and new ideas keep every possible career field in a state of constant change, and a liberally education person, with their understanding of the underlying theories in their particular field, can adapt and respond more quickly to these changes. I’ve been trying to figure out how a school can best fit this ideal in my paper.