In my previous post, I reflected on the impossibility of today’s full-time, undergraduate students’ completing the two “independent student learning” homework hours for every “instructor-led” class hour as standardized by Carnegie. Fulfilling these mandated homework hours was not possible before the pandemic because students did not have enough time in their weekly schedules. After the pandemic, students face even more obstacles. Still lacking enough time to study, students seem to be missing critical independent study skills and are experiencing limited cognitive capacity as well as increased mental health concerns. In this post, I will offer a few concrete ways to address these two concerns in our syllabi and support the vocation of student learning.Continue reading
When I became the inaugural director of St. Lawrence University’s Center for Innovation in Teaching and Assessment in the fall of 2022, I was worried about student engagement and mental health coming out of the Covid pandemic. As that academic year ended, however, I was also alarmed at the ways increasing social media usage coupled with widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT present us with existential challenges that feel insurmountable.
I am not alone. The Surgeon General released a report noting the ways social media use can “pose a risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.” And you cannot do any type of faculty development in 2023 without someone raising the question of AI and the future of teaching and learning.
As we approach the fall semester, I offer the concept of resonance—drawn from the work of sociologist Harmut Rosa—to think about how to address what I see as the interconnected dilemmas of the ongoing student mental health crisis and the rise of AI, especially ChatGPT.Continue reading
In a new episode on the NetVUE podcast series, Callings: Conversations on College, Career, and a Life Well-Lived, sociologist of religion Tom Landy talks about his life’s work in helping people understand the “thickness” of religious traditions (their own and others’). Tom is director of the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. His primary research is in global catholicism, and he founded and leads research for Catholics & Cultures, a web-based initiative to explore the religious lives and practices of lay Catholics in their particular cultural contexts around the world. He is also the founder of Collegium, a summer colloquy on faith and intellectual life for faculty from Catholic universities and colleges from around the country.Continue reading
Do smartphones help or hinder reflection upon vocation? It depends. Medieval Christians distinguished between curiositas—a vice—and studiositas—a virtue. Curiositas is inconsistent with vocational reflection; studiositas undergirds real reflection upon calling. Although I enjoy my iPhone, I know it encourages shallow curiosity rather than contemplative wonder.
Smartphones constitute ideal technology for cultivating and satisfying curiositas. These pocket-sized gadgets provide easy access to new knowledge on demand, so that a hunger for novelty finds endless fodder, inadequate though it is for real intellectual sustenance. Smartphones also present Continue reading