****This week our guest columnist is Lawrence’s own President Jill Beck. Beck is particularly excited to offer Lawrence students her knowledge on all aspects of individualized learning.*****Dear President Beck, I’m harboring an unrequited crush on one of my professors. I know for a fact that he’s single and we’ve talked several times outside of class. He keeps sending me mixed signals though; would it be wrong to pursue this? -Confused in Colman
Dear Confused, At one point, in some institutions of higher learning, the distance between professors and students began to break down. This was certainly true at Lawrence University. These idealistic principles of equality appear to have greatly influenced Lawrence’s teaching philosophy, which prominently features more equality between professors and students than is typical in higher education. This was evidence of an enlightened strategy for acquiring the ability to teach oneself, for no method is more effective for learning than that of teaching others, and, for its time, this was an enlightened attitude to the education of women.
Dear President Beck, I am having serious issues. I’ve been dancing for 10 years, so you’d think that since I’m flexible and coordinated I’d be very talented in the boudoir. However, this is not the case. My boyfriend and I have even tried the whole Kama Sutra, yet I have never reached full sexual fulfillment. As a dancer yourself, wouldn’t you say that dancers have a better chance for success in the sexual arena? Help me, Jill Beck! -Dancer in the dark
Dear Dancer, Your question really refers to diverse forms of one-on-one learning — such as tutorial education, research collaboration, coaching, or mentorship programs — that contribute to stretching the boundaries of individual performance and potential. It is any one-on-one educationally oriented program in which instructors supervise a selected activity, whether it focuses on acquiring the specialized knowledge of a discipline or a more practical understanding needed to partner effectively with the community.
One final note: We may ask ourselves: Why? To what end, with what outcomes in sight, with what aspirations do we seek to nurture an environment of liberal learning and free discussion at Lawrence?
In Provost Burrows’ words, it is “to help each student develop as an individual with the cognitive abilities, sense of self, and commitment to ethical and effective action that form the basis of a life of fulfillment and excellence.