The Role of Education
At its best, schooling can be about how to make a life, which is quite different from how to make a living.
- Neil Postman, The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School
In the current push to create a bigger and stronger workforce, it is easy to get fixated on programs and classes that emphasize the development of stronger and more current competencies. Our U.S. President has even suggested that community colleges remove the word “community” from their name and become the true technical colleges that we need. For the record, being competent is good – really good! But a quick review of the many articles on the most common reasons why people get fired and/or don’t work out in the job reveals that the matter of competence is NOT high among them. Being technically competent may be the key to getting a job, but it doesn’t appear to be the key to keeping it. In addition – and this is Postman’s point – having a good job may be essential to having a good life, but they should never be conflated as if they were the same thing. It is the role of education to support, guide, equip, and enable not just good workers, but good people, good members of our communities. It’s about going beyond Competence and working to develop Character.
This is not a new thought, but it is also not an outdated thought. The following words should make as much sense to us today and they did back when they were spoken.
Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.
- Aristotle (a disputed attribution)
To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.
- Theodore Roosevelt
The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
I remember one of my first encounters with what this looks like, back when I was the Chief Financial and Operations Officer in Powell, Wyoming. I was looking to add a family room onto my home, making room for my growing teenaged son and his friends, and I needed a residential contractor to do the work. Asking around, I was repeatedly directed toward a one-man business named Mark. What I found in Mark was not just a residential builder but was also a lover of Russian literature, especially the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky…..and this made all the difference in the world. I won’t argue cause-and-effect but, from Mark’s perspective, while it was a vocational education that taught him the skills of his profession, it was his love for literature that helped give his exercise of those skills a more aesthetic quality and his company a well-earned reputation for integrity.
At LBCC, we are BOTH a career-technical AND a liberal arts college, and this is not by accident. It is our belief that these two ways of looking at work and life have something to share with each other, something that together makes more of a whole, and something that can help us and our students develop the Character that leads to a life that enriches not just ourselves, but those around us as well. And I believe that it is for this reason that we who are LBCC were awarded this year’s Large Business of the Year Award by the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce on March 10th, 2018 (and by the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce in 2007 and again in 2013).
My congratulations and deepest gratitude to all of you who are working to provide the kind of education that Aristotle and Teddy Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of, and that our communities recognize in us:
. . . an education that enables all of us to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from the cultural richness and economic vitality of our communities.
- LBCC Mission
Progress Report on Strategic Objectives for 2017-18
- Continue to develop and/or modify existing policies and practices so that they represent intentional actions to build a culture that exhibits our Goals and Values.
- Continuing our work on Academic Freedom
- 4th annual Values Survey is being completed this month
- Establish an educational experience that is increasingly designed around the student and for the student’s success by fully implementing Guided Pathways.
- I have been appointed to two HECC committees and are working on state-level polices that will be designed to promote and support student success
- The Strategic Funding Workgroup
- Developing funding policy that will better connect resources to positive student outcomes
b. The Adult Attainment Workgroup
1. Developing educational goals and models for adults reentering the education pipeline/pathway
- Establish facilities that support and enhance the teaching-learning experience by implementing and/or completing Bond Funded Projects.
- Great progress is being made on Industrial Arts Building I, with the new and expanded Mechatronics area open for classes this Spring Term
- Continue to improve our responsiveness to the changing needs of regional industries and other community employers.
- Establish greater Affordability for all students.
- Under Bruce Clemetsen’s leadership, we are restructuring the Student Services area and creating new/stronger connections with internal and external partners to address students’ affordability issues in a more comprehensive manner.
- Establish technology resources that support and compliment the classroom, creating new points of access and new levels of adaptation to student needs.
- Establish a campus of true Equity and Inclusion.
- With Javier Cervantes’ leadership, we had a great and well-attended Unity Day celebration on our campus.
- Under Scott Rolen’s leadership, we are now implementing hiring practices that will help us to develop more inclusive candidate pools and diverse workforce.