Most of the time, I concentrate on getting things done. There are lots of things to get done. But occasionally I get the time to consider why I am doing these things. Time to look at the bigger picture. What are we doing in higher education? What are students learning? Is any learning fine, or are there more important things we need to teach? Does that vary depending on the individual?
Lots of people have thought about this before. In college, we have general education requirements that indicate what we collectively think all students should learn. We also have various majors that are tailored for various careers and specific interests of students. Within those majors we have various required courses that define the field along with an assortment of elective courses for students to choose from based on their particular interests.
Even within individual courses, there are basics that every instructor needs to cover and areas that allow the instructor to add in a personal flavor.
In a relatively small institution where excellent education is the primary focus, as opposed to research institutions where new knowledge is the primary focus, the above questions about the purpose of education come up often. I enjoy working with the Science faculty at CBU on these questions, and I hope you see in this newsletter some of the results that our students get from this work.