With all of the news about internships lately, my favorite recent posting is from McSweeney’s. Advertising a news production internship, the position is described as a “tremendous growth opportunity” that “may lead to full-time employment with possible entry-level pay or occasional freelance work.” The listing concludes:
This position requires someone who is completely dedicated. We are NOT looking for college students or people who are currently in a career “transition.”
This is a great opportunity to gain more experience. Only experienced candidates should apply.
We have received thousands of applications for this position. Due to the overwhelming interest we CANNOT guarantee a response to your inquiry.
We apologize in advance.
One of the most interesting aspects of reading articles online, for me, is reading the comments that come with them. Such was the case recently when I reread a Chronicle of Higher Education article reporting on new research by Anne Colby and William Sullivan, from the Carnegie Foundation’s BELL (Business, Entrepreneurship, and Liberal Learning) project. The project examines models that integrate business and liberal arts education. Integration is particularly critical, Colby and Sullivan stress, in order to strengthen business students’ understanding and navigation of the moral and ethical consequences of business practices.
The Chronicle article focuses on the gulf these researchers have found on many campuses. Business programs frequently employ active, hands-on pedagogies where students become responsible for their own learning, work within groups, and apply principles and methods to new phenomena, either in real-world situations or in simulation. The liberal arts, on the other hand, offer rich ethical and moral frameworks from a host of perspectives, but the pedagogies can often be less active and engaging as a matter of standard practice.
Recently, David Brooks wrote about two opposing views of character and conduct. In one view, character is stable, people act in accordance with a set of dominant character traits, and the quest for selfhood is really the quest for the “traits of character we need to become virtuous.”
The second view, informed by evidence that people act very differently depending on the circumstance, suggests instead that “we each have a multiplicity of tendencies inside, which are activated by this or that context.” Read the rest of this entry »
In recent postings, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) raises the specter that civic literacy—defined as knowledge of the answers on the U.S. citizenship test—is lacking among today’s college students. The more important question is not whether students should know a few basic facts about the United States government and its history. (That answer, for me, is yes.) The question is whether retention of basic facts is the best mechanism by which to develop an informed and active citizenry. As John Bransford and colleagues note in How People Learn (1999):
Above all, information and knowledge are growing at a far more rapid rate than ever before in the history of humankind. …More than ever, the sheer magnitude of human knowledge renders its coverage by education an impossibility; rather, the goal of education is better conceived as helping students develop the intellectual tools and learning strategies needed to acquire the knowledge that allows people to think productively about history, science and technology, social phenomena, mathematics, and the arts (1999, p. 5). Read the rest of this entry »
As college students move from their first to final year, their belief that their campus should focus on contributing to a larger community is stable and strong, but their assessment of whether their institution actually is focusing on this goal becomes increasingly pessimistic. This is just one of the findings included in the new AAC&U publication, Civic Responsibility: What Is the Campus Climate for Learning?, which will be released this Wednesday, on the eve of the Network for Academic Renewal meeting, Educating for Personal and Social Responsibility: Deepening Student and Campus Commitments, taking place in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The report, which features campus climate data gathered at twenty-three leadership campuses involved in the initiative, Core Commitments: Educating Students for Personal and Social Responsibility, includes responses from 24,000 students, evenly divided over all four years of college. The report notes that nearly 45 percent of first-year students strongly agreed that their campus actively promotes awareness of U.S. and global social, political, and economic issues, which is critical to take effective action in communities. However, only one-third of seniors felt as strongly that their campus actively promotes awareness of U.S. issues, and only one-fifth of seniors strongly agreed that their campus actively promotes global issues. Read the rest of this entry »
Last Wednesday, the Washington Post covered the release of a new report issued by the Corporation for National and Public Service, indicating that volunteer rates are on the rise, especially among young people, despite worsening economic times.
According to the Post article, “the number of 16- to 24-year-old volunteers rose 5 percent, from 7.8 million to 8.2 million. The number of applications to AmeriCorps, which puts people to work full time in nonprofit groups for a year, increased 217 percent over the past eight months.” Read the rest of this entry »