I’m thinking about running away!
Meanwhile, for those of you who just can’t bear a pure “fluff” post with a pretty young woman instead of a smelly ballsack or a contaminating application of menstrual blood, here’s some food for thought. Via reader and commenter Susan, Adam F. Falk, President of Williams College, writes “In Defense of the Living, Breathing Professor:”
Most of us in higher education take the long view about the value of what we do. Sure, students graduate with plenty of facts in their heads. But the transmission of information is merely the starting point, a critical tool through which we engage the higher faculties of the mind.
What really matters is the set of deeper abilities—to write effectively, argue persuasively, solve problems creatively, adapt and learn independently—that students develop while in college and use for the rest of their lives.
At Williams College, where I work, we’ve analyzed which educational inputs best predict progress in these deeper aspects of student learning. The answer is unambiguous: By far, the factor that correlates most highly with gains in these skills is the amount of personal contact a student has with professors. Not virtual contact, but interaction with real, live human beings, whether in the classroom, or in faculty offices, or in the dining halls. Nothing else—not the details of the curriculum, not the choice of major, not the student’s GPA—predicts self-reported gains in these critical capacities nearly as well as how much time a student spent with professors. Continue Reading »