Friday, February 27, 2009

Worth It!

My daughter is almost 6 yrs old and is at the stage where she asks what words mean when she doesn’t understand—which is great. Just recently she asked, “Daddy, what does ‘worth’ mean?” Good question! Sometimes it’s hard to explain concepts so I told her, “Let’s say you have $5 and want to buy ice cream” (no brainer there!). “One store sells a box for $2.50 and another has the same thing on sale for $1.00.” (She’s already good with math so she figured that one out quickly.) “I can get more for my money at the one store than at the other,” she replied. I said, “Well worth sometimes deals with quantity, how much you get.”

Then I said, but that’s not all worth deals with. “Okay, you still have $5 and you want to buy balloons.” Her eyes lit up. “With $5 you can get 5 balloons filled up with regular air, or get two Mylar balloons filled with helium. Which do you want?” “The two Mylar balloons,” she quipped. I asked, “Why?” “Because they last longer silly!” she replied. “Aha, so worth can also mean quality, how good a thing is, how long it lasts.”

Well, a college education is like that. In these hard economic times we all definitely want to stretch our dollar and get the most bang for our buck. But sometimes there’s more bang and noise than any real substantive fireworks that illuminate our mind’s eye. Some fireworks shows look great at first but then quickly fizzle away in our memory even though they had lots of smaller rockets going off with lots of bang. Yet some fireworks displays create a lasting impression because of the spectacular light show, even though overall they had less rockets and boom. Some shows even co-ordinate music with them, and of course, the setting plays a role as well.

Well a Jesuit education at Rockhurst University integrates a lot into the formative experience. Our location in Kansas City provides students with an excellent setting in which to put into practice what they learn whether through service projects or internships etc. There are a lot of local resources you can tap into. Furthermore, while a Jesuit education costs more than some other places, its enduring value and formative experience outweigh the flash and bang of state colleges. Jesuit education is time-tested and has endured for four centuries that have seen massive social changes. It’s hard to explain the worth of a Rockhurst education, but by comparing it to other "brands" you eventually see and appreciate its lasting value. At Rockhurst you get quantity as well as quality. Not only that, as the MasterCard add goes, some things are priceless. The transformative mission of Rockhurst University, forming men and women for others, is priceless. It provides meaning to education, rather than just an exercise in jumping through hoops to eventually land a job.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tested and Approved

Sorry I’m a bit late. This week I’ve been grading students’ tests. I have three classes. The way I organize the semester, I break it down into four equal parts with four tests worth the same amount of points. This helps distribute the information into smaller blocks as well as gives students the opportunity to bounce back if they didn’t do as well as they wanted on a particular test. We also have a research paper due.

Anyhow, all of this got me to thinking. Here at Rockhurst University a lot of the instructors are quite willing to help you do well on the tests by answering questions you might have. I let people shoot me an e-mail and I respond back as quickly as I can. Some drop in my office when they want something clarified, or I even read over prep essays that they have written out. Here at the Rock we’re into personal attention and putting the student first. You’re unlikely to get such personalized attention and help on prepping for a test at a big state school, like you would at Rockhurst. This is all part of cura personalis –care for the whole person – that is part of Jesuit education.

We also have a great Learning Center that helps students. You can get free help with tutoring, study strategies, and writing. Check it out: