St. John’s Doesn’t Need a List of Credentials Guideline

One wonders, if credentials are such a gigantic issue, how they keep their accreditation over there after reading THIS article. To wit:

And yet Ms. Benson, with a Ph.D. in art history and a master’s degree in comparative literature, stood at the chalkboard drawing parallelograms, constructing angles and otherwise dismembering Euclid’s Proposition 32 the way a biology professor might treat a water frog. Her students cared little about her inexperience. As for her employers, they did not mind, either: they had asked her to teach formal geometry expressly because it was a subject about which she knew very little.

It was just another day here at St. John’s College, whose distinctiveness goes far beyond its curriculum of great works: Aeschylus and Aristotle, Bacon and Bach. As much of academia fractures into ever more specific disciplines, this tiny college still expects — in fact, requires — its professors to teach almost every subject, leveraging ignorance as much as expertise…

Or as St. John’s president, Chris Nelson (class of 1970), put it with a smile only slightly sadistic: “Every member of the faculty who comes here gets thrown in the deep end. I think the faculty members, if they were cubbyholed into a specialization, they’d think that they know more than they do. That usually is an impediment to learning. Learning is born of ignorance.”

2 thoughts on “St. John’s Doesn’t Need a List of Credentials Guideline

  1. That is a great quote from Chris Nelson at the end. I feel tempted to have it tattooed across my chest.

  2. Well stated, we are after all “lifelong learners” or is it that all we know is what we learnt in kindergarten.
    Learning is not static (as we are learning in neuroscience) so what is the message we are giving our students (future policy makers) ?
    Creativity in this great land came from INTERDISCIPLINARY SKILLS not from controlling what one teaches and what one learns.
    It is no wonder that more parents are home schooling.
    I thought that the function of a Liberal Arts and Sciences curriculum was to makie our society more well rounded.HELLO!
    Perhaps with constraints imposed on credentialling teachers we should reinvent our curricula.
    However, if a subject is to be taught we need adequate courses/ experience in that discipline.
    All of this specialization has resulted in chaos in healthcare with specialists that deal with each health problem. Whatever happened to the General Practitioner who practiced with a holistic approach combining the personal with the procedural aspects of medicine.
    Those who can’t teach should be consultants and or researchers specializing in their specific areas and enjoying what they like to do.
    See, there is a role for everyone but most of all it is most important to LOVE what you do!

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