the value of a college education

Recently my friend Jane Redmont shared an article on Facebook criticizing something called “learning outcomes.” Jane commented that the idea of learning outcomes has only been “a thing” for the past decade or so. Her post certainly put a bee under the bonnets of a few of her academic friends, one of whom commented that learning outcomes started showing up on accreditation standards in about 2000. In general, the article seemed to me to be filled with a lot of academic jargon, but one statement stood out: “All successful teaching therefore results in students who love to think and never stop thinking for the rest of their lives.”

I replied to Jane that I was glad that I was in college long before learning outcomes existed. I pointed out, however, that there was a truism we loved to repeat when I was in college in the early 1970’s:

quoteThe lecture system is a means of transferring information from the professor’s notebook to the student’s notebook while bypassing the brains of both.

I certainly had my share of lecture-based courses during my four years at Pitzer College in PitzerftnsmClaremont. Nonetheless, my college education was successful in that I do still “love to think and never stop thinking.”

I do get tired of Pitzer constantly asking me for money while having an essentially non-existent alumni career development and networking program at a time when my own career is in need of a reboot.

Even so, my time at Pitzer has meant a lot to me, and for the fact that I continue to think, read, and learn I am still grateful after 40 years.



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