Set-Up: As 10th graders, the “prepare for college” drumbeat seems to be playing a bigger and bigger role in all of all of your lives with each passing day. Hard to spend a single day at school without this being brought up, I would imagine (just like now — wink).
Needless to say, the major priorities typically are:
- what will it take to get into a ‘good’/’dream’ college?
- will I enjoy the experience once I’m there?
- how will my life be better once I’ve had that experience/degree?
Beyond just being about one’s individual ability to leave home (to grow as a person, see the world, etc) and earning a degree (to be in a position to develop a career, earn a living, etc), the entire focus on “getting to college” also say a great deal about our culture/society. It also invites us to look into the ‘business’ of colleges/universities.
Challenge: Read the following 2 page New York Times editorial entitled “When Academia Puts Profit Ahead of Wonder” by Janet Rae-Dupree. Do the following:
- Share one quote that caught your eye that looks at the conflict between research universities being places of ‘learning’/’wonder’ vs. ‘profit’/’patents’.
- React to that as a big idea in general
- React to that in terms of what it means to be a ‘student’ at a university that has to make such a decision in terms of how professors spend their time, the purpose of a university education, etc.
Length: 7+ sentences
Note: This article is not meant to be representative of all research universities, nor suggesting how you should view the two goals. It is merely offered as a way to consider the deeper issues that go on at universities every day that may have an unexpected impact on what it means to be on campus in your future.