Posts Tagged ‘liberal arts

10
Jul
13

7.10.13 … Stanford’s the Art of Living: “We cannot make you happy. The item for sale is not happiness, but the possibility of happiness. That requires an art for living.” …

Stanford University, The Art of Living, free, Open Culture: Watching the first installment of 17 …

 

What is a liberal education? And how can it help you live a more authentic and purposeful life? They are timely and timeless questions that get answered by The Art of Living, a team-taught course presented to Stanford freshmen. The first lecture (above) addresses these questions head on. And the remainder of the course (17 videos) puts the initial thinking into practice, using great works of literature and philosophy to explore what it means to live a well-lived life. Socrates, Plato, Shakespeare, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Toni Morrison all guide the way. Taught by Lanier Anderson, Kenneth Taylor and Joshua Landy, the Stanford course puts you in a position to address “fundamental and enduring questions about what it means to be human.” Whether you work in business, science or the arts, you will get something big out of the class.

via The Art of Living: A Free Stanford Course Explores Timeless Questions | Open Culture.

Professor Lanier Andersen asks:

“What is actually for sale at this university? What are you paying all that money to purchase? Liberal education is about freedom not just in the negative sense of freedom from work. It’s about a positive freedom, which allows a person to do something, be something, become a certain person – it’s about what W.E.B DuBois called ‘the soul’s freedom for expansion and self-expression’. Liberal training is not about learning a trade. It’s about learning to live in the first place. DuBois said: ‘The riddle of existence is the college curriculum…The true college will ever have but one goal: not to earn meat but to know the end and aim of that life which meat nourishes.”…’We cannot make you happy. The item for sale is not happiness, but the possibility of happiness. That requires an art for living.’

The second speaker, Professor Kenneth Taylor, is hilarious. ‘I’d like to welcome you to the ownership of your life.’ Awesome.

via Stanford’s course in the Art of Living – Philosophy for Life – official website of author Jules Evans.

Philosophy Talk celebrates the value of the examined life. Each week, our two host philosophers invite you to join them in conversation on a wide variety of issues ranging from popular culture to our most deeply-held beliefs about science, morality, and the human condition. Philosophy Talk challenges listeners to identify and question their assumptions and to think about things in new ways. We are dedicated to reasoned conversation driven by human curiosity. Philosophy Talk is accessible, intellectually stimulating, and most of all, fun!

Philosophy Talk is produced by Ben Manilla Productions, Inc. on behalf of Stanford University, as part of its Humanities Outreach Initiative.

via About Us | Philosophy Talk.

 

23
Jun
13

6.23.13 … google glass and the liberal arts … hmmm …

“It’s a device made for the liberal arts,” he said. “The whole device is about putting you in the shoes of the wearer to experience the world through their eyes. An auto-ethnography in history could be an interesting thing to experience.”

via Professors Envision Using Google Glass in the Classroom – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

03
Mar
13

3.3.13 … the Advantages of Being Useless … Ok, I feel very useless … and proud of it!

liberal arts:  Ok, I feel very useless … and proud of it!

Because I’m going to convince you that the uselessness of Liberal Arts degrees is advantageous. I’m going toargue that people who major or minor in a liberal arts discipline are better off than people who don’t. And I’m going to argue that these people are better off  precisely because Liberal Arts degrees are useless.

via Liberal Arts, and the Advantages of Being Useless | Nicholaos Jones – Academia.edu.

Arab Spring,  climate change, stressor, NYTimes.com:  Very interesting …

IN her introduction to a compelling new study, “The Arab Spring and Climate Change,” released Thursday, the Princeton scholar Anne-Marie Slaughter notes that crime shows often rely on the concept of a “stressor.” A stressor, she explains, is a “sudden change in circumstances or environment that interacts with a complicated psychological profile in a way that leads a previously quiescent person to become violent.” The stressor is never the only explanation for the crime, but it is inevitably an important factor in a complex set of variables that lead to a disaster. “The Arab Spring and Climate Change” doesn’t claim that climate change caused the recent wave of Arab revolutions, but, taken together, the essays make a strong case that the interplay between climate change, food prices (particularly wheat) and politics is a hidden stressor that helped to fuel the revolutions and will continue to make consolidating them into stable democracies much more difficult.

via The Scary Hidden Stressor – NYTimes.com.

08
Dec
11

12.8.2011 … used bookstores are wonderful … so loved my find – The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas … Spotify is great … mourning for the VT community …

used bookstores, A Reader’s Corner, Louisville KY, The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas (Jeff Smith), Christmas, Christmas traditions: I found a wonderful book in a used bookstore, A Reader’s Corner, over Thanksgiving . The book is entitled The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas and is by Jeff Smith. It is not a cookbook . ” I hope you use this book to help your family better understand the profound and joyous holiday.” I have always enjoyed the Frugal Gourmet and think this a very interesting twist to his usual cookbook. He does in contain a dish for each representative in the traditional creche scene.

social media:  🙂

This video is an artistic take on how the story of the nativity might have read had a social network existed at the time of Jesus’s birth. Follow this historical period as it unfolds as a digital narrative. This vignette is great for highlighting the truths and circumstances of our Savior’s birth in a fresh, unique way.

Like the song? O Come Emmanuel, by Folk Angel, is available for free when you purchase and download the video from IgniterMedia.com.

via A Social Network Christmas – YouTube.

liberal arts, education, careers, success:  Worked for me …

I never figured out the admission formula, but as a former CEO with more than 30 years in management at a Fortune 50 firm, I can offer advice on that second big question: pursue a liberal arts education. For most people, it’s the best foundation for a successful career.

… But as someone who spent many years assessing the skills and talents of management prospects for a wide range of disciplines and industries, I know that the candidates who were the most attractive manager prospects were those with a well-exercised mind, leadership potential, and the passion to make a difference. These success factors can be cultivated in many ways, but all are best developed by taking courses in the liberal arts and sciences.

Developing one’s mind is no different from developing a strong body: exercise and, specifically, cross training. By studying art, science, the humanities, social science, and languages, the mind develops the mental dexterity that opens a person to new ideas, which is the currency for success in a constantly changing environment. And just as an aspiring major league pitcher needs a live arm and a calculating, cool head to pitch effectively, so too does a management prospect need to be educated broadly to respond effectively to ambiguity and uncertainty. Completing a broad liberal arts curriculum should enable a student to develop the conceptual, creative and critical thinking skills that are the essential elements of a well-exercised mind.

via A.G. Lafley: A Liberal Education: Preparation for Career Success.

Davidson College, Davidson basketball, Vanderbilt: Davidson shows no fear!

As the game began to wind down, as Vanderbilt threatened to push the lead into the 20s, the Wildcats stopped taking turns and found their scorer – De’Mon Brooks, a 6-7 sophomore forward out of Charlotte Hopewell.

If you were to ask somebody how Brooks gets his points, there would be no obvious answer. He has no stunning go-to move, no crossover dribble that entices fans to jump and shout, nothing terribly pretty.

A fan held up a sign early that said: WE WILL NOT FEAR.

Brooks did not fear. In the first half he scored six points on four field goal attempts and grabbed two rebounds. He couldn’t back the bigger and burlier Commodores down.

In the second half, Brooks scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds. He forced his way into the lane and hit jump shots. He spun. He fought.

One play more than any other attests to his work: Blocked out, he followed a miss by going one-on-one, one-on-two, one against the world. He somehow grabbed the rebound over the two Vanderbilt big men, drew a foul and hit two free throws.

The 18-point deficit became 14, 12 and seven. With 31 seconds remaining the Wildcats cut the lead to six. With nine seconds left, Davidson cut the lead to three.

But the Commodores had enough. They won 87-83.

You don’t have to go to the Triangle to see big-time basketball. This was a taut, dramatic and exciting game on a small campus in a gym full of noise.

Be interesting to see what Brooks does Saturday against an athletic Charlotte team when the Wildcats and 49ers play for the unofficial championship of Mecklenburg County.

via Davidson shows no fear | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Spotify, Christmas music, Amy Grant: Amazing thing about Spotify is that I can listen to whatever Christmas album I want and do not have to go to the basement and dig out the box that has tapes and cds in it. Love that … am currently listening to my usual first christmas album … Amy Grant’s A Christmas Album  (1983).

Coca-Cola Company, secret formula:

The Coca-Cola Company has moved its secret formula for the first time in 86 years, taking it from a bank vault to a new repository on exhibit at its downtown Atlanta museum.

The world’s largest beverage maker says the new vault containing the formula will be on display for visitors to its World of Coca-Cola museum. However, the 1886 formula itself will remain hidden from view.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola says the decision to move the formula from a vault at SunTrust Banks Inc. had nothing to with the bank’s decision in 2007 to sell its long-held stake in Coca-Cola.

via Coca-Cola moves formula for 1st time since 1925  | ajc.com.

 

Christmas traditions, nativity scenes, zombies: Where can I get one? 🙂

… and, finally, in keeping with our current cultural fascination with all things zombie, i give you the etsy craftiness of: the zombie nativity. really, just, no comment.

via 27 worst nativity sets: the annual, growing list!.

Facebook, value:  Long term staying power …

Rightly or wrongly, what’s caused me to start to evaluate whether Facebook has peaked is my own declining use of the site. I find myself using it less and less each day, sometimes going days or weeks without checking it. Interestingly, I have also observed that many in my network are posting less often. What may be happening is that consumers are experiencing Facebook fatigue.

I recently polled almost 500 high school students in San Jose, and shockingly, not all of them were on Facebook. But perhaps not surprisingly, nearly all who were said they were basically bored with the site and had been using it significantly less.

Now, depending on how heavy of a technology user you are, you may find the idea of Facebook on its way out surprising or not surprising. For example, many of the young people I surveyed conveyed that they were ready for something else. Call me crazy, but I firmly believe that Facebook has either peaked or is on the cusp of peaking.

All of my thinking on this comes, of course, on the heels of news reports about Facebook’s preparing its IPO. But it also comes at a time when Facebook has to overcome negative press due to a settlement with the FTC over privacy issues. Those events are on opposite sides of the spectrum and could potentially be used to argue for or against Facebook’s long-term staying power.

If you’ve been using Facebook for more than a few years and think back to how you used it in the beginning, you’ll most likely remember using it quite frequently for long periods of time. Much of this initial time spent connecting with friends and family or rediscovering old friends was what made Facebook great. Even many who are new to Facebook may still find themselves using it heavily by doing some of those same things.

But at some point, Facebook usage becomes more about profile management and quick checkups than heavy usage. Now, although this isn’t bad, it’s not what Facebook wants as it looks to maintain a large, healthy business.

via Facebook on Decline? Some Users Bored, New Competition | Techland | TIME.com.

 

22
Nov
11

11.22.2011 … seeking a second confirming opinion … Preparing to join the masses tomorrow … Over the hills and through the woods to GoGo’s house we go …

Thanksgiving, kith/kin: 🙂

Salvador Dalí, Walt Disney,  collaboration, creativity, art:

In 1945, Dalí and Walt Disney embarked upon a formidable collaboration — to create a six-minute sequence combining animation with live dancers, in the process inventing a new animation technique inspired by Freud’s work of Freud on the unconscious mind and the hidden images with double meaning. The film, titled Destino, tells the tragic love story of Chronos, the personification of time, who falls in love with a mortal woman as the two float across the surrealist landscapes of Dalí’s paintings. The poetic, wordless animation features a score by Mexican composer Armando Dominguez performed by Dora Luz.

As fascinating as the film itself is the juxtaposition of the two creative geniuses behind it, each bringing his own life-lens to the project — Dalí described the film as “A magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time” and Disney called it “A simple story about a young girl in search of true love.”

via Destino: A Salvador Dalí + Walt Disney Collaboration Circa 1945 | Brain Pickings.

liberal arts, education, life, culture: I knew this!

The study found that liberal arts college graduates are more likely than graduates of both private and public universities to give their college a high effectiveness rating for helping them learn to write and speak effectively.

The study found also that liberal arts college graduates are more likely than alumni of other types of institutions to say all of the following about their college experience:

Their professors often challenged them academically and personally helped them meet those challenges;

Most of their grades were based on essay exams and written reports;

Their experience often included extensive classroom discussions;

They participated in faculty-directed research or independent study;

They often engaged in conversations with professors outside of class;

They participated in service-learning or community service;

They were involved in an extracurricular activity.

Alumni of all three types of institutions – liberal arts colleges, private universities, and flagship public universities – were more likely in the 2011 survey to rate their overall experience as “excellent” than in the 2002 survey, Day noted. The increase was particularly pronounced for graduates of liberal arts colleges, who went from 66 to 77 percent, and public universities, who went from 41 to 53 percent.

The Annapolis Group, a non-profit alliance of 130 residential liberal arts colleges, commissioned the survey to determine how its graduates perceive the effectiveness of its member institutions in comparison to others.

via Liberal Arts College Graduates Feel Better Prepared for Life’s Challenges, Study Finds | College News.

Edward Gorey, macabre, Why We Have Day and Night:  Gorey’s work always scared me …

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Edward Gorey’s, mid-century illustrator of the macabre, whose work influenced generations of creators, from Nine Inch Nails to Tim Burton. Eleven years after his death, Gorey still manages to charm us with his signature style of darkly delightful illustrations with Why We Have Day and Night. In three dozen beautifully minimalist black-and-white illustrations, with plenty of design-nerd-friendly negative space, Gorey and collaborator Peter F. Neumeyer illuminate young readers on the mystery of why we have darkness and light.

via The 11 Best Illustrated Children’s and Picture Books of 2011 | Brain Pickings.

college application process, early admission:  Our poor kids … nearly 4,250 apply to Harvard early admission …

Last week, The Choice published a chart with early admission application figures — most of them increases over last year — at 25 colleges. That chart has now grown to include nearly 40 schools.

Our updated tally includes Harvard College, which suspended early admission in 2007 and restored it only this year. The college said on Monday that 4,245 students filed single choice early action applications by its Nov. 1 deadline; under that program, students are prohibited from filing early applications with other private colleges in the United States. Those 4,245 applicants represent more than double the size of Harvard’s anticipated class of 2016, and they mark a 5.9 percent increase from four years ago, when early admission was last in effect at Harvard and 4,010 students chose to apply.

Yale University has also reported that it received 4,310 early applications for admission, an 18 percent decrease from last year’s figure, perhaps influenced by the reinstatement of early admissions at Harvard and Princeton University this fall.

via Nearly 4,250 Apply to New Harvard Early Admission Program – NYTimes.com.

 football, sports art, Salvador Dalí:

Do you like football? Salvador Dalí paints a picture on the pages of a newspaper for Boys’ Life, 1965. Other obscure Dalí collaborations: Walt Disney short film (1945), Alice in Wonderland illustrations (1969)

Do you like football? Salvador Dalí paints a picture on the pages of a newspaper for Boys’ Life, 1965.

via curiosity counts – Do you like football? Salvador Dalí paints a….

college life,  study abroad alternatives:

But while these travelers were away experiencing the exotic, many of their friends – about 20,000,000 students altogether – remained bound to campus. Undoubtedly, not all of these students wanted to study abroad. However, many did and their decision to stay home could have been a result of finances, extracurricular commitments, or otherwise.

If this is you, don’t resign yourself to four years of the same familiar view out your window: As it turns out, there are many equally-enticing alternatives to studying abroad.

Even if you’re already an accomplished globetrotter, read on. These off-campus opportunities offer rich experiences for any student.

via Unable to study abroad? Check out these alternatives | USA TODAY College.

Address Is Approximate, vimeo, short film, animation:  Quite fun!

via Address Is Approximate on Vimeo.

31
Aug
11

8.31.2011 … my pets are acting weird … I don’t want to tell them they are a week late …

kith/kin, pets:  They say animals sense big natural events before we do … Well, Bart Lisa and Fitz (2 ten-year old bassets and a black American short-haired cat) are clueless … last week, rather than the two weeks before when we had an earthquake and a hurricane in our region, my animals have been cling-y, bark-y , howl-ly, etc … and nothing.

9/11, prayers:  Some things you just do not think about.  Like a traditional war, there are children who never see their fathers, but here we have a concentration in one area of children without fathers.

They were the smallest victims of 9/11 – not yet even born when they lost their fathers on Sept. 11, 2001.

Today, they are bright and hopeful 9-year-olds who only now are beginning to understand their unique legacy. Their resiliency is proof that life goes on.

“This is something the whole world felt,” says Jill Gartenberg Pila, whose daughter, Jamie, was born six months after 9/11. “As Jamie gets older, she realizes the loss she had was also a loss that affected everyone.”

In many ways, they are typical fifth graders who skateboard, play video games and worry about schoolyard crushes.

Yet they are far from ordinary.

Gabriel Jacobs Dick, 9, releases balloons every 9/11 with messages for Dad to “give him an update on how life is going,” he says. “Mostly it’s like, ‘I miss you.’ ”

September 11 Anniversary, Children of 9/11 : People.com.

Hurricane Irene, Vermont, covered bridges, icons:  Covered bridges are architectural poetry.

Perhaps it’s the simple, humble way that the Bartonsville Covered Bridge seems to say goodbye, bowing first at its far end, then slipping behind the trees while keeping its structure, and its dignity, intact until its peaked roof slips into the Williams River. Perhaps it’s the grief in the voices of the onlookers. We all know that tourists like to take pictures of Vermont’s iconic covered bridges; what this clip shows is the deep affection that Vermonters feel for these structures, and the terrible sense of loss when one disappears. Most bridges are simply crossings, a means from one place to the next. But covered bridges seem like dwellings. They give a sort of permanence to transitions, and impart to the otherwise ordinary act of driving somewhere a special texture and a mystery. Perhaps their claim on the imagination has something to do with that momentous crossing everyone makes, to death.

via News Desk: Requiem for a Covered Bridge : The New Yorker.

Lower Bartonsville Covered Bridge collapses into the Williams River in Vermont – YouTube.

Hurricane Irene, quotes:  Some of these are really good …

“Para todos, gracias, por los bomberos, muchas gracias por tu ayuda. Es suficiente?” —Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City

via News Desk: The Crisis in a Nutshell: Floods and FEMA : The New Yorker.

college life, happiness:  I was very surprised by this list. It doesn’t seem that there is much correlation between the “party” schools and the “happiest” schools.

Happiness is subjective, but without a doubt some college campuses make life a little sweeter for students. Newsweek ranks the 25 Happiest Schools in America.

Methodology: To find the happiest schools in the country, Newsweek crunched the numbers for six categories, weighted equally using z-scores (a measure of how close or distant each school is to average): dining, housing, and nightlife grades from College Prowler, the number of sunny days per year, with data from Sperling’s Best Places, student-teacher ratio, and the average indebtedness at graduation, with data from the College Board.

via College Rankings 2011: Happiest Schools – The Daily Beast.

… and now the list … surprise anyone?

Happiest Schools

Yale University

Harvard University

Rice University

Stanford University

Bowdoin College

Pitzer College

Occidental College

Colby College

Emory University

University of California-Davis

Southern Methodist University

Rollins College

Hamilton College

University of California-Los Angeles

University of Southern California

Cornell University

Wellesley College

Colorado College

Smith College

James Madison University

Purdue University

Vanderbilt University

Bucknell University

Santa Clara University

University of California-San Diego

via College Rankings 2011: Happiest Schools – The Daily Beast.

college, liberal arts, interdisciplinary world: “One has got to be ready to think quick.”

It just goes to show that the liberal arts and sciences have a real, growing, and very practical place in the future of thinking through a day, a career, or a lifetime in today’s increasingly interdisciplinary world. Discrete “skillsets” are great—but least limiting when the person using them understands the big picture of where they came from and what shape they might shift to, next week, year, or decade. One has got to be ready to think quick.

via » Liberal Arts AND Sciences, Mmm’kay? A Sample Davidson Click-fest Offers a Peek To the Future.

2012 DNC, internships:  It will be interesting to see what Charlotte gains from having the DNC.  Summer jobs and internships for college students will be great.

Fall internships with the DNC have been posted!  The deadline for applications is September 12, 2011.

The DNC is seeking self-motivated, results-driven and trainable students for this opportunity. A DNCC intern will have a wide range of responsibilities, such as acting as the first point of contact for a Department head in the offices of the CEO, COO, or Chief of Staff. Interns may assist with special projects in various departments such as Intergovernmental Affairs or Communication and Public Affairs.  They may prepare correspondence, assist staff with requests pertaining to the convention, assist with IT network systems, or help prepare memos as well as research important legal topics.

via Internships with the Democratic National Convention | Office of Career Services Blog.

Warren Buffet, BofA:  I like Buffet, but he is definitely all over the plate these days.

in the 1930s, they called Roosevelt a traitor to his class. Some would say he saved that class. Oddly, Warren Buffett finds himself in a comparable position today. Some would say he’s saving capitalism. Others would most certainly not say that.

The Buffett story du jour is, of course, the $5 billion investment in Bank of America, initially trumpeted as a vote of confidence that will salvage yet another purportedly too-big-to-fail institution. It is, among other things, a powerful example of the obvious intersection of finance and reputation management. From the bank’s perspective, all their reputational initiatives were faltering absent a critical communications tool – namely, a third-party endorsement of significant impact.

“I remain confident that we have the capital and liquidity we need to run our business,” said Bank of America chief executive Brian Moynihan. “At the same time, I also recognize that a large investment by Warren Buffett is a strong endorsement in our vision and our strategy” [emphasis added]. The New York Times, for one, cited favorable responses by analysts and concluded that the Berkshire Hathaway investment “has helped allay concerns about Bank of America.”

Maybe, but it might not be the best medicine for the Bank of America C-Suite amid prominent headlines like “Brian Moynihan Got Fleeced By Buffett’s BofA Bet.” Nor might it infuse confidence in the bank itself amid conspicuous commentary that features taglines like “Sorry, Warren, Bank of America Still Stinks.”

Importantly, though, this story is not just playing out at a “purely business level.” Most striking in much of the commentary is an unprecedented ambivalence – if not antipathy and distrust – toward Buffett, who has historically played the role of folk hero for Americans of every socio-politicalstripe. The problem with being a folk hero is that your public image has to be clear and simple. You’re a leader among peers from whom every citizen can learn the lessons of success without being made to feel inferior for want of a billion or two in disposable income.

The lesson is that financial communications never occur in a vacuum. They can be driven to an important extent by extrinsic public affairs concerns that directly affect the perceptions of analysts, shareholders, and journalists – who, in turn, influence how transactions are received in the marketplace.

Life is no longer clear and simple for the Sage of Omaha. Welcome to our world, Mr. Buffett.

via A Rorschach Blot Named Warren Buffett: The Sage of Omaha in an Age of Ideology – Forbes.

travel, science, random:  I just wish one airline would try it for a week!

If Fermilab astrophysicist Jason Steffen is right, this could be quite the boon to anyone who has to fly commercially (assuming, that is, you’re not lucky enough to sit in first class or business.)

Steffen invented a model using an algorithm based on the Monte Carlo optimization method used in statistics and mathematics to halve the time it takes to board an airplane. According to Steffen, the best method is to board alternate rows at a time, starting with the window seats on one side, then the other. The people sitting in window seats would be followed by alternate rows of middle seats, then the aisle seats. Another of Steffen’s conclusions: Boarding at random is faster than boarding by blocks.

But he’s still a preacher without a congregation. Although he published his study in the Journal of Air Transport Management in 2008, the airline industry hasn’t taken much notice.

via Physicist claims faster way to board a plane – CBS News.

27
May
11

5.27.2011 … old news now … I went to Davidson for the public announcement of its 18th president, and SHE is wonderful. She has to be … there are at least 10,000 living alums … and she just got our dream job!

Davidson College, Dr. Carol Quillen, kudos:  Congratulations to Dr. Quillen, Davidson College’s 18th president, to DC’s Presidential Search Committee for a job well done and to Davidson College for being open to an outsider and a woman … the future is bright. I also had the privilege of joining John, a member of the Board of Trustees, for a quick dinner with Dr. Quillen … not only is she everything listed on her cv, she is charming, warm, engaging and humorous.  It a great time to be a wildcat! …

Carol Quillen understands all facets of the academic enterprise. A brilliant administrator and a talented teacher and scholar, she can articulate not only the value, but also the necessity of a liberal arts education. Her values are Davidson’s values. She inspired us, and we could not be more enthusiastic about welcoming her to Davidson.”

via Davidson College – Presidential Search.

At Davidson, a particular religious tradition grounds a foundational commitment to cultivating a broadly diverse and collegial community, where people possessing different talents, from different cultures, whose deepest convictions differ, can learn from and with each other in an environment of warmth and respect. Davidson creates a distinctive culture of inquiry and trust within which students grow as humane thinkers and perceptive leaders precisely because they are simultaneously engaged in the production of knowledge and challenged to build creative, purposeful lives. Davidson graduates morally courageous persons who are not afraid to take intellectual risks. Most important, Davidson somehow enables each student to discover the remarkable human being he or she could become, such that each student seeks to fulfill his or her highest potential—not because they have to, not because other people expect it, not because they will get in trouble if they don’t, but because they genuinely want to be that remarkable human being that this college shows them they are capable of becoming. Somehow Davidson gives students the courage to make their own decisions and to take responsibility for those decisions, so that, whatever they choose to do, they live lives of purpose and consequence in pursuit of their highest aspirations.

I do not know precisely how Davidson has done this—that is why I need to spend some time just listening. I do not know what it will take for Davidson to do this in and for an increasingly interconnected and rapidly changing world. That is something we will need to figure out together, the whole Davidson family, and it will be both challenging and exhilarating.

I do know this. Davidson is uniquely able to re-imagine and to exemplify this profoundly valuable kind of education at this crucial time. And because Davidson is uniquely able to do this, Davidson is also obligated to do so. It will be a great privilege to contribute with you to this daunting, urgent and profoundly rewarding task.

via Davidson College – Presidents Office – Remarks by President-Elect Carol Quillen.

colleges, liberal arts:  Some interesting thoughts of the value of a liberal arts education.

Fortunately, as Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, has pointed out, superior arts education also teaches many of those same skills. High-quality arts and humanities instruction is almost perfectly suited to stimulate imagination, creativity, and the ability to find adaptive solutions. Like Daniel Pink, I believe in enhancing “STEAM” in our institutions of higher education–with an extra “A” in the center of STEM incorporating the Arts as central.

Finally, the value of a liberal arts education cannot be minimized without also minimizing the lessons of history, literature, and science for the present-day. There is a reason why Congress created the National Endowment for the Humanities. I don’t ordinarily quote from statutory language to explicate the value of education, but the provisions of the U.S. Code outlining the purpose of the NEH bear repeating. The law states that Congress finds “an advanced civilization must not limit its efforts to science and technology alone but must give full value and support to the other branches of scholarly and cultural activity in order to achieve a better understanding of the past, a better analysis of the present, and a better view of the future.” Democracy,” the statute goes on to state, “demands wisdom and vision in its citizens.”

The founders, from Thomas Jefferson on, understood that the study of the liberal arts and civic obligation was important– not just to learn the lessons of history, but to preserve a functioning Republic. Walt Whitman once called America “an aesthetic democracy”– and that is a pretty good metaphor for the intellectual life of a liberal arts college.

via The Relevance of Liberal Arts to a Prosperous Democracy: Under Secretary Martha J. Kanter’s Remarks at the Annapolis Group Conference | U.S. Department of Education.

While the tradition of the liberal-arts education may be on the wane nationwide, the most elite schools, such as Harvard, Swarthmore, Middlebury, and Williams, remain committed to its ideal. These top schools are not tweaking their curriculums to add any pre-professional undergraduate programs. Thanks to their hefty endowments, they don’t have to. As the economy rebounds, their students, ironically, may be in the best spot. While studying the humanities has become unfashionable and seemingly impractical, the liberal arts also teaches students to think big thoughts—big enough to see beyond specific college majors and adapt to the broader job market.

via Jobs: The Economy, Killing Liberal Arts Education? – Newsweek.

inns, travel, lists:  Top 10 to-die-for inns and B&Bs.

truth, family history, memoirs, quotes, kith/kin:  A distant cousin has written a semi-autobiographical account of his childhood … which involves much of my family and extended family … So when I came across this NPR story, it just struck home … “‘It’s your own personal truth, and it is not necessarily factually accurate, and it’s not necessarily the truth that other people have possessed.”

In the best-selling memoir Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs told the story of his bizarre and occasionally brutal upbringing as the son of a mentally ill mother and an alcoholic father. When the book hit the best-seller lists, it not only established Burroughs as a well-known writer, but it also paved the way for the rest of his family to tell their own versions of the story. His older brother, John Elder Robison, wrote about their childhood in his memoir Look Me in the Eye, and now their mother, Margaret Robison, has added to this family saga with her memoir, The Long Journey Home. Taken together, the three books raise interesting questions about truth, memory and the much-maligned genre of the memoir.

Memoirs have to be true, says Lee Gutkind, a professor at Arizona State University and a specialist in creative nonfiction. But you can’t apply journalistic standards to a memoir — there’s a difference between facts and the truth.

“It’s your story, that’s what a memoir is,” Gutkind says.

“It’s your own personal truth, and it is not necessarily factually accurate, and it’s not necessarily the truth that other people have possessed.”

via In Burroughs’ Family, One Saga, Three Memoirs, Many Competing Truths : NPR.




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