One Response to “The Swinging Bridge: April 10, 2014” Subscribe

  1. Mary Henninger-Voss April 23, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    I was so happy to see The Swinging Bridge address the question of college costs and benefits. Indeed we seem to be creeping toward insanity when we cultivate a system in which a four-year degree is treated as the primary gate to the middle class, but at a cost in excess of four times the total median yearly earnings for an American family. However, the article that appeared in the Messiah newspaper focused on a student who questioned the value of her education because she puts very little effort into her classes, and gets very little benefit out of them. As a professor, I have found that it is nearly impossible to teach students who are in class primarily for the mark they will receive on their transcript. Whether some of these students want to have a neat row of ‘A’s, or whether some just want to graduate, the focus of what they do has nothing to do with the exploration of ideas or the practice of critical thought, or even a coherent understanding of the topic being developed over the course of a semester. Let alone any idea of how that topic might inform their thinking process about their own lives. If students truly believe that they would be more educated reading a handful of Wikipedia articles rather than attending classes, they should be rioting on the quads, and occupying the academic buildings. If, however, Messiah College offers (even when the offer is not taken) a wide range of disciplinary perspectives on a number of issues that are central to the human experience and the challenges of Christianity, as well as in-depth training in the discipline of chosen specialty, I would say every Messiah student is getting what s/he is paying for–GIVEN THE EDUCATION MARKET. Students who attend Messiah purely for the transcript to show prospective employers have got their transcripts; students who have invested four years of life in order to deepen their understanding of themselves and the world around them will have that richness of soul and broad skills of analysis. In either case, the service rendered meets the price paid.

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