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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.

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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.

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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 »

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