Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Will the Rats Win?

It’s hard to say the one thing I like most about Rockhurst, but one of the top things is that it is people oriented. While there is the “institution” and some necessary “bureaucracy,” the underlying drive behind everything being done comes from part of our mission: “transforming lives in the Jesuit tradition.”

We’re a student focused university. While I enjoy being in the classroom, perhaps the most gratifying side of student engagement is when it’s one on one. Lots of students drop by my office, whether for extra help on something they didn’t quite understand in class, or a regular Honors Option meeting, or someone popping in to talk on a more personal level about something going on. (Some even poke their heads in between classes just to chew the fat.) I really enjoy the personal interaction that gets beyond the academic and “theoretical” side of things. Of course in the classroom I always have to maintain an academic presence even while trying to foster subjective interaction with the material, but when it’s all said and done if none of what I’m saying translates into real life, What’s the purpose of it all in the first place?

Rockhurst is about transforming lives. It’s a two way street, many times filled with intersections, and thus choices. As an instructor, I present information and try to open the student up to other perspectives and possibilities. As a teacher, I foster learning where the student reflects, analyzes and applies the information, or even discovers new information and perspectives. To quote Socrates, “The unreflected life isn’t worth living.” Sure I can stumble through life in a daze and go from party to party and be zoned out, or I can walk along a path and notice my surroundings and reflect upon them. Or even better yet, I can run with a goal in focus striving for the finish line and along the way kick up a lot dust in the faces of people who are mere bystanders in life. I can either burn up the track or just sit around and get burned in the sun. Rockhurst is about running the race of life with gusto and getting out of the rat race of life that is meaningless.

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