In some ways I wish that my retired colleagues had been present at the September 1, 2016 College of Arts and Sciences Strategic Planning Retreat. I’ve always felt that emeritus faculty (and alumni) are neglected resources of wisdom that can inform and guide us as we discuss ways 1) to improve the educational experience of our students and 2) to strengthen our relationships with each other across the campus community.
I had the enjoyable opportunity to interact in two discussion groups with six colleagues (from Communications, Theater, English, Education, Mathematics, and Chemistry) in addition to mingling with Dean Charlie Byler and the 74 the College faculty.
What do our students need to learn? Among the ideals/aspirations suggested by my colleagues were that we should be attempting to
- cultivate intellectual curiosity and a love of and ability to learn to learn
- assist students in developing resiliency (challenging them not to give up even as we give them opportunities to fail)
- help students appreciate the rewards of working hard
- develop in students the confidence and ability to find their own answers rather than their accepting ours
- combat ignorance in addition to developing wisdom
- give students experience and support in addressing difficult questions which have no simple, obvious answers
- mentor and model the above ideals
What would we like our students to say about their Carroll educational experiences 10 years from now? Much to my Colleagues’ amusement, I was initially uncharacteristically tongue-tied as they made suggestions like the following:
- They made the right choice in coming to Carroll.
- They were well prepared.
- Being here was a transformational experience.
- They are proud to have been here.
- They know how to learn and accept the fact that learning is never done.
- They would recommend Carroll to others.
- Their time here influenced how they see the world.
My silence was realizing that I would have little influence on graduates ten years in the future (I’ll be 77!) I will have interacted with four decades of students who could indeed be asked that question by me. In fact, over the past years I have often received solicited and unsolicited feedback from students via surveys I have developed, written correspondence, and social media interactions such as Facebook and LinkedIn (Feel free, Dear Reader, to inform me further:))