Richard Hersh

  • Aired:  04/10/12
  •  | Views: 23,987

Higher education consultant Richard Hersh believes in challenging college students to develop their highest intellectual and emotional capabilities. (6:44)

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

FOLKS, MY GUEST TONIGHT IS AN EDUCATION CONSULTANT WHOSE NEW BOOK IS CALLEDDED QUESTION WE'RE

LOSING OUR MINDS." I ASSUME ALL THE ANSWERS ARE IN THE BACK.

PLEASE WELCOME RICHARD HERSH.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

MR. HERSH, THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

>> THANK YOU.

>> ALL RIGHT, SIR, YOU GOT THE NEW BOOK.

IT'S CALLED "WE'RE LOSING OUR MINDS, RETHINKING AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION.

YOU KNOW A LITTLE BIT ABOUT AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION.

YOU'RE THE PRESIDENT OF A COUPLE OF COLLEGES OUT THERE.

HOBART, ALSO TRINITY COLLEGE.

>> YES.

>> YOU'RE THE VICE PRESIDENT OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS AT A COUPLE OTHER DIFFERENT PLACES.

IF YOU THINK HIGHER EDUCATION IS SUCH A GREAT THING, SELL ME ON IT.

SAY SOMETHING SMART, SMART GUY.

[LAUGHTER]

>> IT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT WAY PEOPLE LEARN HOW TO THINK, GOSH

GET THEIR OWN IDENTITY, THINK CREATIVELY.

>> Stephen: SO BEFORE PEOPLE WERE GOING TO THESE COLLEGES,

OKAY, PEOPLE DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO THINK?

YOU'RE SAYING JESUS WAS DUMB.

YOU JUST SAID THAT.

IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY?

SELL SOME BOOKS.

>> EDUCATION FOR THE 21st CENTURY ASKS US TO THINK BEYOND WHAT OUR ANCESTORS DID, BUILDING

ON, THAT STANDING ON THEIR SHOULDERS, LEARNING ABOUT THAT,

OF COURSE, BUT TO GO BEYOND, TO BE CREATIVE, TO BE INVENTIVE,

ALSO TO BE HUMBLE.

>> EXCUSE ME?

I'M IN THE A HUGE FAN OF HIGHER EDUCATION, AS I SAID, BUT YOU

SEEM TO THINK THERE'S SOMETHING BROKEN ABOUT IT.

WHAT'S BROKEN ABOUT IT NOW?

PEOPLE GO TO COLLEGE, A LOT OF PEOPLE GO TO COLLEGE.

EVERYBODY IS TRYING TO GET IN IT'S IMPOSSIBLE IT'S SO POPULAR.

>> TOO OFTEN WE'RE ASKING STUDENTS TO GO THROUGH COLLEGE RATHER THAN PUT IN THE TIME AND

EFFORT AND BE CHALLENGED IN A WAY THAT HELPS THEM DEVELOP THEIR HIGHEST CAPABILITIES

INTELLECTUALLY AS WELL AS EMOTIONALLY.

>> WHAT IS SIDE TRACKING THEM?

THEY GO TO CLASS.

>> WE'RE NOT MAKING ENOUGH DEMANDS ON THEM.

WE'RE NOT ASKING THEM TO READ MUCH, WRITE MUCH, MAKE PUBLIC PERFORMANCE IN TERMS OF BEING

ABLE TO SOLVE PROBLEMS.

WE ARE, IN FACT, LOWERING THE STANDARDS THAT WE HAD 30 AND 40 YEARS AGO.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

SO YOU WANT TO TAKE US BACK 30 AND 40 YEARS.

YOU WANT US TO GO BACKWARDS.

ARE YOU IN FAVOR OF CLASSICAL LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION?

>> I AM.

I AM.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE CONSERVATIVE ARTS?

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?

>> ALL GOOD EDUCATION CONSERVES THE BEST OF WHAT WE KNOW AND IT QUESTIONS THE BEST OF WHAT WE

KNOW IN CASE WE WERE WRONG.

>> Stephen: LET'S TALK TURKEY.

LETS R TALK ABOUT REALITY OF WHAT KIDS FACE RIGHT NOW.

THEY ARE LEARNING ONE THING THAT WILL PREPARE FENNEL FOR THE WORLD.

THEY'RE LEARNING HOW TO ACCRUE CRUSHING LIFELONG DEBT.

[LAUGHTER]

AND TO PAY THAT OFF, THEY NEED GOOD JOBS.

WHAT'S AN ENGLISH MAJOR GOING TO DO FOR YOU WHEN AMERICA NEEDS ENGINEERS AND BETWEENS WHO CAN

PUT TOGETHER iPAD.

>> ALMOST ALL THE CORPORATE EXECUTIVES AND MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DEALING WITH

EMPLOYMENT WHERE THINKING IS SUPPOSED TO BE PART OF THE JOB REALLY DO VALUE NOT ONLY THE

ENGINEERING SKILLS, THE BUSINESS SKILLS, THE ACCOUNTING SKILLS,

BUT REALLY DO ARGUE FOR AN ABILITY FOR PEOPLE TO MAKE SENSE OF A WHOLE DIFFERENT SET OF

KNOWLEDGE, ENGLISH, LITERATURE,

PHILOSOPHY, PSYCHOLOGY,

ANTHROPOLOGY.

>> BUT I HAVE AN ACCOUNT.

IF I HIRE AN ACCOUNTANT, OKAY, I WANT MY ACCOUNTANT TO FILL MY SPREADSHEET WITH NUMBERS.

OKAY.

I DON'T WANT AN ESSAY ON GENDER INVERSION IN SHAKESPEARE'S CORLIANUS.

I JUST WANT THEM TO BALANCE THE BOOKS.

>> THAT'S FAIR, BUT WE ALSO WANT THEM TO GO HOME AND BE GOOD CITIZENS.

WE WANT THEM TO BE GOOD FAMILY MEMBERS.

WE WANT THEM TO, IN FACT, DO MORE THAN SIMPLY UNDERSTAND THAT EDUCATION IS FOR A JOB, NARROW

JOB SKILL.

WE WANT THEM TO ALSO BE ABLE TO ASK QUESTIONS AND TO SOLVE PROBLEMS THAT ARE NEW RATHER

THAN GET STUCK IN SOMETHING THAT'S SORT OF ASSEMBLY LINE-LIKE.

>> YOU SAY THERE IS A CRISIS IN EDUCATION WHERE COLLEGES AREN'T

DOING WHAT THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING.

WHO IS DOING IT RIGHT?

>> WHAT'S COMMON ABOUT THE SCHOOLS THAT ARE DOING IT RIGHT

IS THEY HAVE CULTURES ARE THAT ARE CHALLENGING THAT ASK STUDENTS TO ENGAGE IN FAR MORE

WORK AND EFFORT, FAR MORE WRITING AND READING, FAR MORE INTEGRATION OF KNOWLEDGE.

>> Stephen: I WENT TO DARTMOUTH.

HOW ABOUT DARTMOUTH?

HOW ARE THEY DOING?

THEY'RE IN THE TOP TEN IN THE U.S. NEWS AND WORLD RORTD THING.

>> I WOULD CHOOSE SCHOOLS LIKE M.I.T. AS AN EXAMPLE OF A HIGH...

>> M.I.T. IS LIKE A TECH SCHOOL.

IT'S THE HARVARD OF DeVRIES.

>> PEOPLE DON'T KNOW THAT M.I.T.

HAS SOME OF THE FINEST HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL PEOPLE THAT

GO TO THAT SCHOOL.

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA HAS A VERY GOOD PROGRAM.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

>> HONORS PROGRAMS IN ALMOST ALL BIG UNIVERSITIES ARE FIRST RATE.

THE HONORS PROGRAMS ARE.

HOW DO WE GET ALL STUDENTS TO EXPERIENCED WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO BE CHALLENGED IN A

HONORS PROGRAM.

HOBART COLLEGE IS DOING SOME EXCITING WORK.

>> Stephen: OH, WHAT A SURPRISE.

WHERE YOU WERE IS DOING THE RIGHT THING.

UH-HUH.

PROMOTE MUCH, SIR?

>> UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN IS AN UNDERGRADUATE SCHOOL DOES SOME WONDERFUL WORK WITH STUDENTS.

>> Stephen: WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN WONDERFUL WORK BECAUSE THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT ALL STUDENTS CAN APPRECIATE

WHEN THEY GO TO COLLEGE, YOU KNOW, GAINING 15 POUNDS AND BEING IN AN A CAPPELLA GROUP.

THOSE ARE UNIVERSAL.

WHAT'S LIKE A SPECIFIC THING A COLLEGE MIGHT DO?

>> NO MATTER WHICH COURSE THEY TAKE, IT WILL BE FOR MOST COURSES, THEIR BEING ASKED TO

ACTUALLY ENGAGE IN SERIOUS THOUGHTS, LOTS OF READING, LOTS OF WRITING AND GETTING A LOT OF

ASSESSMENT AND FEEDBACK, AND THEY ARE CHALLENGED ALL THE TIME, RATHER THAN SIMPLY TAKING

COURSES FOR CREDIT HOURS AND GETTING A DIPLOMA AND CLAIMING,

HERE'S MY DIPLOMA, I'M EDUCATED AND I HAVEN'T DONE MUCH FOR IT.

THERE'S TOO MUCH GRADE INFLATION, FOR EXAMPLE.

>> DO YOU THINK THERE SHOULD BE STANDARDIZED TESTING TO PROVE

YOU'VE ACHIEVED A CERTAIN AMOUNT IN COLLEGE?

>> IN MANY PROFESSIONS LIKE ARCHITECTURE AND ENGINEERING FOR EXAMPLE, PHARMACY, PEOPLE HAVE

TO LEAVE AND TAKE LICENSING EXAMS, SO THERE ARE ALREADY MANY EXTERNAL TESTS.

SOME STANDARDIZED TESTS WOULD BE USEFUL TO ASK THE QUESTION: ARE WE IN THIS COLLEGE DOING AS WELL

AS OUR COMPETITORS WITH SIMILAR STUDENTS.

THAT'S NOT THE ONLY KIND OF ASSESSMENT WE WANT.

>> Stephen: YOU WANT TO ASSESS IF SOMEONE'S BEEN TO COLLEGE,

JUST GIVE THEM A TEST WITH ONE QUESTION.

IS GOD DEAD, THEY CHECK YES, YOU KNOW THEY WENT TO COLLEGE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US, MR. HERSH.

THE BOOK IS "WE'RE LOSING OUR MINDS" BY RICHARD HERSH.

WE'LL BE