“True education should be teaching us how to listen to other points of view. That's what I would hope for in America. Something that we still need to work on as an experiment in democracy. How to teach people from different backgrounds to hear the other perspective and to put ourselves in the shoes of people different from ourselves,” says Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President of University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

How do we ensure students in higher education are receiving a true education, what does that look like, and why is it important?

Gallup research found that the odds of being engaged at work were two times higher if a college student had an internship or job allowing them to apply what they were learning in the classroom. In Jeffrey Selingo’s book, There is Life After College: What Parents and Students Should Know About Navigating School to Prepare the Jobs of Tomorrow, he states, “The best college education is a two prong approach that exercised both the mind and the hands.”

To learn while doing is experiential learning. An article in the Atlantic defined it as exploratory opportunities for students to not only think about experiences but to also challenge their own inherent belief systems.

A course available at Dartmouth College offers students a unique experience by having students spend two hours a week speaking with inmates to create and perform a theater piece based on the inmates’ lives. The students and inmates then perform their act to the general public. Professor Ivy Schweitzer created the course based on inspiration from the scholar and activist Angela Davis. Davis spoke about how America imprisons more citizens than any other developed nation and that academics should teach about it.

“They come to realize how much they have in common,” explains Professor Schweitzer. “They come to realize how destructive their preconceptions are, their judgments are. They start to tear down those invisible walls; they make connections on a human level.”

To hear Professor Schweitzer and one of her students talk more about this course, listen to the podcast, Upgraded by Hobsons.

 

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