Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vox de Auctoritas vs. Ex Officious

Dear College, Dear Colleagues,

Liberal Education, Vol. 95, No. 3 “Ready—Or Not?”
By Carol Geary Schneider (current AACU issue
excerpts reformatted to fit my screed)

VOX de Auctoritas versus Ex Officious
Can you tell the difference?
Show the relationship?

I’m conducting a Sound Check here.

VOICE is All, true?

Any decent composition teacher knows that.
You can ask Gary.

Content’s galore.

Unless I’m specifically looking for the way to
San Jose or how to fix a lawn mower or stuff
like that where “VOX” don’t matter in fact
could get in the way.

But in these matters of crisis during these
troubled and turbulent times as we consider
the important role of liberal art educating
(vs the liberalarts): we lean and listen for
Voice Uber Alles. because it’s not
information that is necessary (devils in the
details—good & plenty) but higher calling,
love lifting up where we belong, inspiration
if not enthusiasm appealing to spirit and
“the spiritual” if not “the religious” for
crying out loud know what I’m saying?

Maybe you can hear IT in Carol’s words.
Maybe you can’t. Maybe you can tell the
difference (vox de auctoritas and ex officious)
maybe you can’t –got a tin ear after all these
years and it may make no never mind to you
anyway—all song and furry and another article
chalked up as faculty development and
professional advancement and resumé – ah- um.

Sample. You don’t have to read far. You can
almost TELL by the opening line—what you
are getting. May I profile and call it typical?
Stereotypical? Need we argue?

As we move forward in this new and uncharted
terrain, we will need to make consequential
choices about our institutions, our shared
commitment to higher learning, and our own
lives—choices that will shape the future of our
democracy for decades to come.

In this difficult season, we will need all the
collective wisdom, judgment, and courage
we can muster: to think through our long-
term situation, to evaluate evidence and
alternative scenarios, to make reasoned
choices in the face of profound uncertainty,
and ultimately, to keep centrally in view the
larger picture and the longer-term good….

By contrast, a liberating education, as
Nussbaum points out, makes human
development its focus and its commitment.
It not only prepares students for economic
opportunity and success, but it also engages
the wider world. And it deliberately cultivates
the capacities needed to make sense of
complexity as well as the commitment to
consider responsibility to the larger community
as a central concern in making decisions,
including economic decisions.

A liberating education prepares graduates,
in short, not just to ride out the storm, but
to work constructively with others to chart
a journey through the storm toward a better

A liberating education prepares—or should
prepare—graduates to make judgments and
decisions that lessen the likelihood of further
human-induced economic storms. And, not
least, it cultivates interior qualities
—the virtues—that provide
a moral compass.

This right here:
product of liberal education?
WWRAS? (What would Ray Anderson Say?)


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