Posts Tagged ‘Frank Bruni’

Carpe Diem–Sieze the Day!

August 22, 2019

Two Views of the Same Mug–Hot & Cold

Forty-eight hours ago I met my Humanities class at Texas Wesleyan University, and have been waiting with bated breath to get back to them. I must have been overly excited on opening day, because I awoke at 5:10 for a class that wouldn’t meet till 10:50. Well, this morning I awoke at 2:10, but it was a sinus infection this time. Medication has finally gotten it under control, and I feel human again, but I certainly won’t get back to sleep, and class is about two hours away now. Three hours’ sleep. Bummer. But the French-pressed coffee is steaming in my Carpe Diem mug, and I believe I will be ready to seize the day when the time arrives.

I love the table we have set for today–a roundtable discussion of Frank Bruni’s op-ed in the May 26, 2018 New York Times–“Aristotle’s Wrongful Death.” Throughout my teaching career, I have been intrigued by debates over education and how to achieve the highest quality. One thing unchanged after three decades is the struggle between the university and the business lobby. I, of course, side with the traditional university and study of the classics. I will never favor the abolishment of majors or the elimination of courses that tilt toward the humanities just to satisfy the latest business trends.

Bruni raises an excellent point that the business landscape changes at warp speed, whereas the university, when putting into play a new program, moves glacially. By the time the university has put together something to satisfy the business community, the latter have already changed their minds at least three more times. Keeping pace with their shifting demands would be impossible for any reputable institution.

All that aside, I favor the university educational profile for the reason stated earlier, namely that the mission is to soak the student minds in the classics, the bedrock of our civilization and structure to our laws and principles. The university offers her services to train the intellect in such a way that students graduate prepared to adapt to any kind of services their prospective employers require. My son and I both achieved an exemplary education, and neither of us was employed in alignment with our majors. But we managed to fulfill our professional roles because we had been educated well. No regrets.

I’m proud to serve on the Texas Wesleyan faculty, and even prouder to be teaching a course titled The Human Experience. Throughout this semester I will bend every effort toward introducing my new family to the greatest minds this planet has witnessed over the millennia. And as we explore their society-shaping ideas we will freely evaluate the strengths and seek ways to improve on the weaknesses. I anticipate yet another exciting intellectual odyssey, and look forward to seeing the light come into the students’ eyes.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.