Faculty of Arts & Science Newsletter
I trust everyone has had a restful, productive summer. As many of you know, the University is in the process of selecting a dean for the newly created School of Liberal Education. I was a member of the committee tasked by the Provost with the revitalization of Liberal Education. Liberal Education will move out from under the purview of Arts and Science and become a possession of the whole University. The goal, as I saw it, was to embed Liberal Education more deeply and more widely across the institution until it becomes part of our DNA, something that defines us as distinct and unique among comprehensive universities. We have taken steps in that direction already by broadening the Liberal Education Requirements (LER) beyond Arts and Science and Fine Arts, to include from all faculties courses that satisfy the four pillars of Liberal Education: breadth, connections, critical thinking and civic engagement.
Early in the Fall Term I received a recommendation for a book through Amazon from a retired faculty, The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy. At first, I was not sure what was being implied of me by such a recommendation. I never thought I moved too quickly but perhaps I was too slow, not in the best sense of the word. I have since ordered the book and began reading it during the November Reading Break, but quickly put it down out of frustration, but have since picked it up again, and am now moving slowly through the book, even though it is a rather thin volume: a thin tome in the Callimachean tradition perhaps is in keeping with the Slow Philosophy espoused in the book.
Welcome back. I trust you had a productive summer. For myself I managed to read a couple books related to my research, Edward Schippa’s Protagoras and Logos and Robert Simon’s Order and Dispute: An Introduction to Legal Anthropology. The latter, in particular, is related to a project on Athenian Law, which I hope to make some headway on over the year. As you know, other distractions can sadly get in the way.
"Education is what is left over after all that has been learnt is forgotten." James Bryant Conant
Happy New Year. This promises to be a busy semester. If all goes well, we hope to break ground in May on the New Science and Academic Building; there is still a lot of work that needs to be done leading up to that event.
The Art of Teaching
“Can you tell me, Socrates, whether virtue can be taught, or is it acquired by practice, not teaching? Or if neither by practice nor by learning, whether it comes to mankind by nature or in some other way?” (Plato, Meno 70a)
Liberal Education in the 21st Century and the Yale report of 1828: What goes around, comes around
Happy New Year. I thought I would open our discussion this year with some thoughts on Liberal Education in light of the changing landscape in the province. In an earlier column, I promised to talk about the Yale Report. Part of what I provide below came out of a talk, which I gave to the Rotary Club over a year ago. I begin with the same question, which I began then: What is the purpose of a university education?
Welcome back. I trust everyone has had a productive summer. For me and others involved with the Destination Project, we have been engaged in the pre-design stage for the new science building. Every month over the summer, we have met with the architects for a Super Week of brainstorming and vigorous discussion. This will be an important project as we progress toward becoming a more fully comprehensive university.
As you are well aware, the Destination project is now underway. We are in the early stages but it will soon pick up STEAM. It is my intent to keep you informed of our progress through various fora. At our last Deans Advisory Council (DAC), the technical committee for the new science building outlined for us four principles that will guide and inform decisions in a way that will help integrate the new building with the campus and the community. The four principles are: 1). Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and teaching; 2) Science on display; 3) Intensive outreach and entrepreneurial engagement; and 4) Innovative / state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities that promote engaged and experiential learning.
From the Dean
In this in augural issue, I thought I would begin by offering some reflection on my long career in the academy, beginning with my time as an undergraduate, followed by some lessons I have learned from antiquity. I hope this begins a dialogue on the importance of liberal education in the Academy.