Spinning the Record – Fall 2015
The way knowledge is acquired is being altered before our very eyes. The Aristotelian model of sitting at the feet of the master no longer applies. Further, information formerly found only amid musty stacks in university libraries is now freely available to anyone with access to a computer and Wi-Fi.
Likewise, the way college courses are taught is changing at an unprecedented pace, driven by inexorable technologies. Today, the fastest-growing segment of American higher education is online learning—where the professor is in one place and the student in another, and not always at the same time.
Does this mean that the four-year, residential college experience is about to go the way of video rental stores, CDs, and film cameras? Not if Norwich can help it.
Education is not synonymous with knowledge. Given the proper resources, anyone can acquire knowledge. That is what books—and increasingly, the World Wide Web—are for. But as Aristotle said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”
At Norwich, becoming educated is about much more than academics. It is learning to make good choices. It is learning to act with purpose. It is learning to lead those whom you serve and serve those whom you lead. Alden Partridge’s “American System of Education,” with its emphasis on experiential learning, practicality, and service, is still relevant nearly two centuries after he conceived it.
Partridge’s genius lay in his ability to foresee the needs of a rapidly growing Republic and his belief that the fundamental responsibility of education was to address those needs. Partridge said, “… education must prepare youth to discharge, in the best possible manner, the duties they owe to themselves, to their fellow-men, and to their country.” That was true 200 years ago, and it remains true today.
This issue of the Record is the first in Norwich University’s Year of Transformation. Education has the power to transform lives the way nothing else can; therefore, the true value of a Norwich education lies not solely in the curricula, which can be obtained at any number of institutions of higher learning. The true value of a Norwich education lies within the people whose lives are transformed by it, and how they, in turn, transform that education into action in the world at large.
For the Record,
Diana L. Weggler