In the first article we looked at the first five of ten lessons learned from fifteen students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who wrote a response to published essays in the New York Times and Slate, which focused on approaches to lecturing. Now we look at the last five.
Students: “We expect to be held accountable, but we would hold our professors accountable as well.”
2015 was a tough year for the University of Missouri. With escalating racial tension, student protests began, culminating in a strike by the entire football team. By that time, the call was for the president’s resignation, as it was perceived by many that he hadn’t done enough to address the racial divide. By that time, even the president seemed to see no other feasible resolution. On November 9th, he resigned, highlighting a major failure at multiple levels in the university’s administration and student body.
Recently at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, fifteen students in a writing course taught by Professor Catherine Prendergast wrote a response to published essays in the New York Times and Slate, which focused on approaches to lecturing.
The response of these students is enlightening especially for those who would be effective teachers and communicators. I observe (at least) 10 lessons from their brief letter that are helpful not just for those who are delivering education in the classroom, but also for those in leadership and administration.
“[I]t is not good for a person to be without knowledge, and he who hurries his footsteps errs ” (Proverbs 19:2).
William (Bill) Bennett was Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan and apparently is now a talk-show host (though I’ve never heard his program, nor even heard mention of it outside this book).
Current accumulated American college tuition loan debt exceeds one trillion dollars, and continues to grow. More than half of all students are in debt from college, with an average—average—debt of $23,000. Horror stories of graduates—or non-graduates—with $50,000, $100,000, even $200,000 of debt and no employment prospects in the field of study are quite common, with very limited hope of paying off that debt in 10, 20 or even 30 years. And this debt cannot be disposed of by bankruptcy. The situation for those who seek or secure graduate degrees is even worse.
Part of this massive avalanche of indebtedness is due to aggressive and less-than-fully-disclosing college recruiting (in both private and public not-for-profit, as well as for-profit schools) that encourages and enables students to secure easy-to-get government loans. A second cause is the fact that the government is the primary lender (creating money to loan out of thin air), rather than banks and other lending institutions, as it was in the past. Banks have a self-interest motive to investigate “ability to repay” factors before making loans, while government bureaucrats have no such motive, and hence are more open to saddling a borrower with unpayable debt (this latter, my observation, not the authors’).
While it has "never adopted specific creedal or doctrinal tests for its members and affiliates," the CCCU stated it "only advocates for 'principles of religious freedom, which allow Christian colleges to hire based on religion and to only employ individuals who practice sexual relations within the boundaries of marriage between a man and a woman.'"
"The Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training ... held a hearing to discuss an issue of growing national concern: campus sexual assault."