Another interesting meeting.

Meeting (and free food) tonight at the Log about whether Williams needs a REAL WORLD REQUIREMENT. We’ll be discussing the current state of our educations and the ways that we can improve them through things like community service and engagement. Please come to offer some input and eat free pizza! Have you ever found yourself sitting in a classroom, wondering how your course is relevant to the world beyond those classroom walls? Does Williams do enough to encourage active citizenship on the local, national, and global levels or does it help perpetuate that mythic “purple bubble?” Should we have ANOTHER requirement?

1) Another requirement would be stupid. The requirements that Williams already has (writing intensive, Peoples and Cultures, divisional) are useless and/or counterproductive. If anything, requirements (except for taking 32 courses and majoring in something) should be eliminated.

2) How many people at this meeting will have much of a clue about the “real world” in the first place? For example, how many have started a business or even worked outside the non-profit sector?

3) There is an easy solution to connect Williams academics more directly to the real world: Make academic work public! Put all the papers for a class on the web. Let outsiders read them. Put lectures on-line. Let outsiders watch them. Connect with the outside world by being transparent about what goes on inside the Purple Bubble. Anything less than that is a waste of time. (Related discussions here and here.)

4) We had a big debate on this proposal a few years ago, but I can’t find the link. So, let’s have it again! Independent of getting a better connection to the real world, making student work (and professor comments on that work) public would significantly increase the quality of both. Another item on EphBlog’s to-do list.

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