Bravery through Education

I find that our students can provide the most inspiring accounts of the St. John’s experience. They present St. John’s from the viewpoint that matters most—from the perspective of those for whom the College exists. Every spring, the Caritas Society of St. John’s College holds a luncheon at which a student who has benefitted from its programs is asked to...
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5 Simple Steps Colleges Can Take to Enhance Student Satisfaction

Sometimes complex problems respond to simple remedies. I was reading recently how psychologists David Yeager and Greg Walton discovered that the dropout rate for disadvantaged college students could be cut significantly simply by exposing them to a one-time, thirty-to-forty-five-minute-long presentation on neuroplasticity showing that people can improve their brain functioning on complex intellectual tasks just by practicing. A simple message—that you can...
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Let’s Stop Making Poor Investments in Education

After more than a decade of “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB)—the 2001 Act of Congress that was supposed “to close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice”—it has clearly failed. Congress is busily engaged in efforts to reform the bill, whose reauthorization remains doubtful. In his recent article for Newsweek.com, Paul Thomas writes about the reasons for the failure. He begins by noting the dependence of...
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College Admissions and the Search for True Value

In a review of Frank Bruni’s Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admission Mania, Nick Romeo takes aim at the American obsession with wealth and prestige as the driving force in the contemporary frenzy surrounding college admissions. His article in the New Republic, “It Doesn’t Matter If Your Kid Doesn’t Get Into Harvard,” takes Bruni to task...
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What We Lose When a Sweet Briar Folds

It was announced last week that Sweet Briar College, the 114-year-old women’s school in Virginia, will be closing at the end of this academic year. This is a sad event in American higher education. When a college with such a distinctive character and historical mission goes out of existence, academe loses something irreplaceable. I recall reading recently—I don’t remember where—the...
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Liberal Education Inspires Fine Wine

Books and wine and life—all are subjects of deep mystery, deep study, and deep human involvement. And all are subjects deeply implicated in liberal education. The connection between liberal education and the trio of books, wine, and life was apparent this past weekend, as St. John’s College in Annapolis hosted its fifth annual wine-tasting event. In Vino Veritas 2015 featured...
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Hiring Grads: What’s Going On? Part IV

This is the fourth and final installment in a series on the purpose of higher education. In Part III, we saw that business’s hiring managers often are not getting the sort of specialized college graduates they want because college, generally speaking, is not the right place to train people for such narrowly designed work. And we saw that many top...
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Hiring Grads: What’s Going On? Part III

In Part I and Part II of this four-part series, we have been discussing the competing demands that business makes on the nation’s college graduates: on the one hand, hiring managers expect specialized workers to fill immediate needs; on the other hand, top executives expect independent, self-determining workers to adapt to change and take initiative. Now we ask, Why are both groups complaining that...
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Hiring Grads: What’s Going On? Part II

This is the second of four installments on the aims of higher education. In Part I of this four-part series we saw that top-level executives say they want independent thinkers and self-determining workers for their companies, whereas their hiring managers go after specialized workers who can perform narrowly targeted tasks. The attitude of the hiring managers has been in force...
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