Running for office again?

September 14, 2013
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

J.K. Wall’s [Sept. 2] article points out that Mitch Daniels is trying to “create new ways to measure student learning, graduate success and overall academic quality at Purdue” and that “Such a system of measurements would help students, parents and donors choose schools based on the best bang for the buck … ”

In addition to student learning, graduate success and overall academic quality, an equally, if not more, important measure of a university is the achievement of alumni in the various areas of their endeavors following graduation. Daniels can explore that measure simply by calling the alumni association or clicking on their Alumni Office’s alumni profile link. But I digress.

I get the sense that Daniels’ attraction to IT to transform the way learning occurs is to reduce costs. Conversely, according to the original article, Purdue has been trying to incorporate IT into the classroom to create a “superior academic experience.”

Does the governor truly believe that the opportunity to sit at a computer terminal is a reasonable substitute for classroom contact with faculty and will continue to attract many of the best and the brightest in our state and from across the U.S?

Here’s part of an actual recent Facebook post from a college freshman who was an honor student in high school.

“Successfully completed my first week of college. Here’s where I stand at the moment.

“1) Up to my neck in Calc and Physics homework.

“2) I am going to be working in a lab of which nothing that is going on in the lab I understand. WOOHOO!

“3) The Circus Club is freaking awesome.

“4) I never thought I’d miss those old plastic chairs from high school … Believe me when I say “reclining” in class is overrated.

“5) Unicycles are everywhere.

“6) A professor actually spoke of a “gerund” in class the other day—GASP—Parts of Speech? WHAT?!?

“7) People in my dorm are pretty freaking awesome.

“8) I’m somewhat surprised at the fact that I actually knew what a “gerund” was.”

The list sounds honest and like the campus environment is a good fit for the student and the education he will receive. I wonder what Mitch’s first week list at Daniels’ alma mater, pricey Princeton University, would include.

Wall’s article carries an undertone of politics and makes me ask if Daniels is running a university or running for POTUS?

Roger Howard


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