June 2, 2011
WHAT IS A COLLEGE EDUCATION ABOUT, ALFIE?
If have a change, obtain a copy of the June 6, 2001 edition of The New Yorker. On page 74 in the The Critics section, Critic-at-Large, Louis Menand's 'Why we have college,' is a thoughtful read for those in, out, near, employed by, or trapped in (if not imprisoned by) the college enterprise. Menand critiques a few recent books on college education. "Assuming that these new books are right (not a fully warranted assumption), and that many students are increasingly disengaged from the academic part of the college experience, it may be because the system is too big and too heterogeneous to work equally well for all who are in it. The system appears to be drawing in large numbers of people who have no firm career goals but failing to help them acquire focus. . . . Students at very selective colleges are still super-motivated--their motivation is one of the reasons they are selected--and most professors, since we are the sort of people who want a little gold star for everything we do, still want to make a difference to their students. But when motivation is missing, when people come into the system without believing that what goes on in it really matters, it's hard to transform minds." Id. at 78.).