Week in Review: Shop Class, Teaching Naked

Welcome to this week’s Week in Review! If you have your own link or suggestion, please add it to the comments, or email it to Tom or Mike.

From Tom

1.  Another piece to throw into our technology conversation:  How about teaching naked, i.e., sans machines?  Do you agree with José A. Bowen, dean of Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts, in his comments regarding the quality of classroom powerpoint instruction and the rise of on-line classes to replace such offerings?  Note:  The video complents Jeffrey Young’s Chronicle of Higher Education article When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom (July 20, 2009).

2.  Alongside being a member of the knowledge making community, do you have skilled, manual competence (in some form)?  Do you at times enjoy, even relish, the cognitive demands of manual, blue-collar work?  What are your thoughts regarding whether academic labor is understood and/or accepted in our wider culture?

HT to Derek Melleby’s Shop Class as Soulcraft for drawing my attention to Stephen Colbert’s interview of Matthew Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work.  Check it out.  Let me know your thoughts.  Note:  For the original New Atlantis essay of the same title and various links related to the author/book click here.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Matthew Crawford
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Mark Sanford

From Mike

Wallace Stegner, Wise Man of the American West – In Books & Culture, Richard Etulain reviews two recent books about Wallace Stegner, one of my favorite authors and the writer of one of the best novels about the academic life, Crossing to Safety. Stegner was an outside in many ways: a novelist who spent his entire career in the academy (at U. Wisconsin, Harvard, and finally Stanford, where he taught Wendell Berry, Ken Kesey, and Larry McMurtry, among others, how to write); a PhD in a world of MFAs; a Westerner in a discipline centered in the East; a writer focused on craft, character and story when much of fiction went “meta.”

The Champions of Marriage – Tim Stafford, a senior writer for Christianity Today, has started a blog. A recent post focused on a mystery: a college education tends to make a person more liberal, more accepting of alternate lifestyles, and less supportive of conservative “pro-family” policies; yet a college education also tends to make a person more traditional in their actual life choices. From Stafford:

Approximately 25% of adult Americans have graduated from college—a number that seems to be fairly stable. Their divorce rate after ten years of marriage, as reported by The Economist in a May 24, 2007 article, has plummeted to 16.5%, just over half what it was a decade before. Only 4% of college-educated women have children out of wedlock. They tend to be pro-marriage. Whereas once college-educated women were less likely to marry than those with less education, now they are more likely.

On the other end of the scale, women who dropped out of high school have seen their ten-year divorce rate rise in the past decade, from 38% to 46%. For those who completed high school the ten-year divorce rate is also rising, though not as fast, to 38%.

Stafford goes to compare the effects of a college education on one’s marriage to the effects of being an evangelical. Stafford challenges evangelical Christians to take higher education more seriously.

Faith and morality do matter, everything else being equal. A college graduate with an active faith is more likely to stay married than a non-believer or a nominal believer with a college education. An actively Christian high school dropout is more likely to stay married than an agnostic high school dropout. However, education makes considerably more difference in the divorce rate than faith does.

You might also be interested in another of Stafford’s recent blog posts, Evangelicals and Science.  (HT: Andy Crouch)

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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

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