It’s no secret that many individuals have been calling into question the value of a college education. We have people giving students CASH MONIES to drop out of college and start a business (Thanks Peter Thiel for that awesome idea…sigh) and a recent study, “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” by sociologists Richard Arum of New York University and Josipa Roksa of the University of Virginia makes the point that students aren’t learning anything new during their college experience (I have my doubts on the validity of this report, but that’s for another blog post). Regardless of where you look, the reality is that at a time when the average individual in the U.S. is going to hold a multitude of jobs and even have multiple CAREERS in their lifetime, traditional education just can’t keep up.
As a professional educator and someone who has held multiple jobs and had several career switches in my lifetime (from administrative assistant, to Marketing and Communication Director, to College Professor) it is something that causes me much concern and self doubt. A teacher’s job, regardless of the level is NOT really measurable. Come on folks, you’d like to have quantitative measurements for learning, but REALLY? A test score of 100 does not guarantee that anyone will know what to do with that information. How do you really tell someone LEARNED something? How do I know that I was effective in the classroom? How does a parent know that there is value in their child’s education ? How does an employer know that an education will guarantee that their new hire will be able to actually do the job? How does the student know that they really gained what they needed in college when so often their focus is on gaining independence, being social and growing up…at the same time we are trying to get them to understand business theory, principles and strategies that are supposed to prepare them for their future career?
See my job is not easy at all. Judging my success at my job only comes really when I hear from former students who have gone out into their professional careers and send me notes two or more years after graduation saying, “Thank you, your class really prepared me for my career”. Other than that, it’s very difficult to quantify.
So when you want to re-envision or re-imagine education to address the concerns of being able to keep college education valuable, relevant and engaging how do you even begin?
Well at Champlain we do something totally crazy.
We set aside two days and invite students, alumni, parents, guidance counselors, employers, government officials, faculty, staff and our Board of Trustees to come together AT THE SAME TIME…IN THE SAME ROOMS to actually have a dialogue about higher education. About how to make it relevant. About how to make it valuable. About how to make it engaging. Yep. We bring people together who are all vested in making sure that education WORKS.
I know. Crazy idea. No ivory towers. No us vs. them. It’s all about listening to experiences, creating a space to discuss, connect and engage, and then, coming up with a framework… a vision…for how we change the work we do here at Champlain to make a difference.
In the end it will mean more work for me and all the professors. It will challenge us like we have never been challenged before as we build upon the framework that comes from the Summit. In the end, we will all benefit.
And now a word from P-Finn (President Finney):
So what say you? Here’s my call to action to my friends, followers, colleagues, current students, former students, professional connections, politicians — won’t you join me and others at Champlain College on August 11 and 12 and be part of re-imagining education?
It’s FREE (did I mention that?) and just requires your time, your energy and your commitment to creating a new approach to education that will benefit all Vermonters and a whole new group of Vermonters yet to come. RSVP by clicking HERE.
There will be food too.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up. Go click that link.
Can’t make it? Send your thoughts and ideas my way as comments to this post or to my Champlain email at eyoung at champlain dot edu.