Around Chicago and Beyond

Once in a while, it is just good to lift your head and . . . look around. So, below I offer a few tidbits that connect with the themes of  Chicago is Our Campus, which I write as president of Shimer College.

First, everywhere you look when it comes to higher education right now, there are discussions of the decision of Sweet Briar College to close. A small, rural, women’s college in Virginia, that decision to close came as an abrupt surprise to many, including many close to Sweet Briar as students and alumnae. Sweet Briar is not alone, of course, given the turbulence in higher education, in facing significant financial challenges — and yet their closure may in fact signal more than “simple” financial concerns. Yes, the “business model” may be broken. Yes, there are concerns about affordability and accessibility of colleges. Yet, the strength of American higher education may not only be enhanced by increasing regulation by government and market.¬†Here I comment on the wider significance of this particular loss to the ecology of higher education in the United States.

Second: there is much ongoing discussion of approaching commencements and their ritual significance — as is usual at this time of the academic year. Such talks mark the end of college (or other degrees) for many, and are a genre that combines platitudes with celebrity all too often. In recent years, the discussion of commencement has also come with come controversy as choices for speakers have . . . been . . . controversial. Nothing new there. Local colleges and universities are or have been announcing their speakers. The combination of nostalgia and bittersweet leavings multiply. I awoke this morning wondering what would happen if we could only invite dead people to give the talks; who would you invite and to what college might you invite them to speak? At the University of Chicago alone, there are enough dead alumni whose views might be worth reviewing that one could certainly ensure speakers for the next decades. At Shimer, we could invite people who populate our curriculum, right? We could invite the dead — and , thus fully embrace the emphasis on mortality that has characterized some recent well known commencement addresses such as those by Steve Jobs (discussed here) and Steven King (here).

Beyond the discussion of Sweet Briar and the forecasting of commencements to come, are the words of Fareed Zakaria defending liberal education (excerpted here) and Frank Bruni bemoaning the ways institutional prestige is rooted in denying as many applicants as possible to the college of their dreams, and driving a certain anxiety of influence in which people forget the point of education is. . . education. Bruni’s title, Where You Go is Not Who You’ll Be is telling. (His work, perhaps, continues the ritualized calendaring of higher education — in his case the May 1, when admissions letters arrive and ostensibly “all” choose their college. That the May date is not the end date for those with rolling admissions seems worth ignoring for the sake of ritual; it is not worth ignoring if you are looking for the best fit for yourself or someone you know).

There is more, of course. Higher education sits at the nexus of necessity and idealism in the United States — and so it is the matter of endless rumination. What will its future be? Where will I go? What is education for? And more.



Leave a comment
  • Too many courses and too many assignments? Are you having difficulty in managing it all? Are you finding it difficult to maintaining your grades?
    assignment writers uk is here to help you acquire better grades in all the courses you are havening difficulty in assignment writing UK.

  • So those who wish to get help with their essays and dissertations at affordable rates and timely delivery of work can approach us at UK Assignment Writing Help where you can find experts to help you with the writings in the academic career

  • Advanced education at the present time, there are talks of the choice of Sweet Briar College Do my Essay to close. A little, provincial, ladies' school in Virginia that choice to close came as a sudden shock to many, including many near Sweet Briar as understudies and graduated class. Sweet Briar isn't the only one, obviously, given the turbulence in advanced education, in confronting huge money related difficulties - but their conclusion may in certainty flag more than basic budgetary concerns. Truly, the "plan of action" might be broken. Indeed, there are worries about moderateness and openness of universities.

  • Your blog is written very well. I am so happy that you are helping people for free. Now days it is hard to find people like that who help other people for free. I have also heard about Hotels in Solan, in that hotels they give free food in month for those who people who can't afford them. Now after them I heard about you that giving free education to those who can't afford it. I am really appreciate your work. Keep it up.

  • Interesting is one of the important tool for achieving good position in their career. There are lots of good opportunity for students to make some positive changes in their academics. Coursework writing service helps to become success.

  • Time of gathering is by all accounts something worth being thankful for however no understudy can use it. transport de marchandise baie-mahault

  • I awakened this morning wondering what would appear if we should most effective invite lifeless people to provide the talks; who could you invite and to what university might you invite them to talk? At the University of Chicago by myself, there are sufficient useless alumni whose views might be really worth reviewing that one should virtually make certain speakers for the subsequent a long time.Assignment Writers UK

  • Tail Spend Management solution by Simfoni comprises a Tail Spend technology enabled buying solution that automates over 75% of the buying process. Simfoni offers Tail Spend Solutions, Tail Spend Strategies, Tail Spend Automation, Tail Spend Technology and Tail Spend Software that helps organizations achieve world-class savings.

  • There is a pair of downsides to Chicago, mostly involving the weather. It is really extreme- very burning and muggy in summer, and freezing in winter, if you want guidance or admission help then will help you in a better way.

Leave a comment