Monday, March 28, 2011

Common reading for common learning

Did you know?
  • For a long time, the study of Latin and Greek was the best way for an individual to gain upward mobility.
  • When it was invented, the lecture course was a delightful change of pace and students actually loved it.
  • Rate my professor has been around in one form or another for over 100 years.
  • Student consumerism led to some things we all regard as hallmarks of higher education.

I didn’t either until I read the Region 2 common reading article, College Students and the Curriculum: The Fantastic Voyage of Higher Education, 1636 to the Present, by John R. Thelin and Amy S. Hirsch.

Higher education will see dramatic changes in our lifetime, and by all signs, in the very near future. Thelin and Hirsch’s article puts important aspects of the current landscape of higher education into context in a down-to-earth and readable way. It made me think that having a better sense of how we got here just might help us have a better sense of where we’re going.

As an adviser, you have a unique perspective on higher education and students. Having a broader sense of how your knowledge fits within the history of this educational system will help you have a more effective voice in the conversations on our campuses and in our communities. Additionally, there is strong evidence that practitioners who engage in self-directed professional development, like reading and discussing with colleagues, raises their energy, self-confidence, and awareness of possibilities.

Joining the common reading discussion gives you the opportunity to bring your knowledge and expertise to the table, share perspectives with others, and learn from others as they share their expertise and experience. It’s instant gratification with a shot of revitalization. Who couldn’t use a little of both lately?

I hope to see you at the table Friday morning. Give yourself permission to indulge in a good read and a good conversation. You’ll be better for it!

Janet Schulenberg
Academic Adviser

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