Solving Problems that Matter (and [gasp!] getting paid for it)

Here’s a problem faced by a great many college students as they complete their undergraduate years:

150504dBacc23When graduation comes around, the big question facing students, faculty advisors, and parents is: what’s next? After pursuing immersive and engaged experiences in academic settings, these passionate, hardworking students are not as excited about taking up well-paying but arguably monotonous jobs in large organizations. They want to directly see the impact of their work rather than designing a widget in a cubicle and becoming another cog in the corporate wheel.

This quotation, from a forthcoming book (of which more below), describes a concern that a great many college faculty and staff have seen re-enacted every year at graduation time.  The students have been formed by Continue reading

Educators have the benefit and obligation of hindsight

I find it useful to think of “vocation” as one of Western culture’s master plots for narrating or making sense of our lives.[1] But we need to recognize that a narrative approach to vocational self-understanding—whether secular or religious—throws into stark relief the differences between the situation 1200px-Rear-view_mirrorof faculty and staff, on the one hand, and the situation of the students with whom they work, on the other.

It is much easier for faculty and staff to tell their stories than it is for students to imagine with any certainty the story that will, eventually, be theirs. And that uncertainty places obligations on educators Continue reading