Unthinkable

It would be utterly unthinkable to try to run a contemporary college without an IT department. A college without wi-fi, without a learning management system, without a server and e-mail system and website, without desktop and laptop computing being fully ubiquitous.

It would be unthinkable to try to run a contemporary college without a student affairs office, the counselors and advisors and programs that make the institution survivable for students without much money, without much family history with education, without strong high schools behind them, without the luck of the draw that lets the entitled feel entitled.

It would be unthinkable to try to run a college without federal financial aid, without compliance with Title VI and Title IX and Title III programs, without an accounting department and legal advice to keep it all in line.

It would be unthinkable to run a college without an admissions office, recruiting and vetting new students. It would be unthinkable to run a college without being accredited, without tracking grades and course completion, without keeping the lights on and the air conditioning going and the roofs intact. Unthinkable to run a college without a library, without academic databases and archives.

All of these things are crucial. Definitional. College would not be college without them.

So how is it that it’s not merely thinkable, but normal, to have college without a faculty? What does it mean for our definition of college that it must have a website, but needn’t have an extensive, reliable body of intellectual guides?

College, in any meaningful way, is in fact unthinkable without a permanent faculty, without a lasting community of scholars making collective decisions about intellectual values, welcoming young people into the family of ideas. So I think, by definition, that what we’re providing most students is something other than college.

Man, that’s gonna be a SWEET ride once we get an engine in there…