Monday, February 25, 2008

Student Life Today

Interesting video out of University of Kansas. Thought I would put it on both blogs as it kind of crosses over. Collated perceptions rather than empirical research but in some ways more powerful because of that.

What comes through most strongly is University education is frequently stuck in a time-warp and has not adapted approaches to the changing context. The video is titled "A vision of students today". The lack of personal relationship with faculty, the disconnect with real life, the magnitude of this generations inherited problems and the mounting debt are all fairly predictable from our own interactions with students. It is a glimpse not a vision.

The biggest issue in tertiary education today is that there is no vision for students today. At least no compelling vision that stirs the imagination of a new generation, excites them about ideas, pushes the boundaries of creativity in delivery and really prepares young men and women for life.

I wonder how long universities in their current form and funding model can survive. I wonder what we are doing to actively work for the transformation of Universities or at least their improvement. It is yet another situation where the baby boomers are in control and in denial.

More Starbucks Cups

Following on from todays post on Pacificscots I have been doing more investigating into the Starbucks coffee cup "The Way I see it" programme. Sure it encourages a relativistic view of truth, you have your ideas and I have mine but I reckon that is the starting position anyway. It is not a new programme - it started several years ago but continues to generate a huge amount of discussion and opinion.

Starbucks describe the point of why they started it.

“Sparking conversation In the tradition of coffee houses everywhere, Starbucks has always supported a good, healthy discussion. To get people talking, “The Way I See It” is a collection of thoughts, opinions and expressions provided by notable figures that now appear on our widely shared cups.”

#162 by Robert Shrum
“The test in life is not how far we go, but where we stand. Will we give in to selfishness and fear, or seek for others what we demand for ourselves: dignity and an equal chance?”

#185 by Anna Nalick
"A valuable lesson I've learned from making music is to never let anyone intimidate me. Every student, celebrity, CEO and math teacher in the world has experienced love, loneliness, fear and embarrassment at some point. To understand this is to level an often very lopsided playing field."

#247 by Bill Scheel
"Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance? Why not search inside us for the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure."

#289 by Chip Giller
"So-called “global warming” is just a secret ploy by wacko tree-huggers to make America energy
independent, clean our air and water, improve the fuel efficiency of our vehicles, kick-start 21st-century industries, and make
our cities safer and more livable. Don’t let them get away with it!"

#27 by Noah benShea
"Do not kiss your children so they will kiss you back but so they will kiss their children, and their children’s children."

#31 by Rita Goldman Gelman
"Risk-taking, trust, and serendipity are key ingredients of joy. Without risk, nothing new ever happens. Without trust, fear creeps in. Without serendipity, there are no surprises."

They do vary in quality but they do sometimes invoke strong responses

Given Starbucks recent commercial problems perhaps they should hire this guy as a consultant.

Or maybe see if there are any bright ideas on the sides of their cups.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Wellington Sevens

Imagine a great mass of people from different tribes and nations. They gather together in good spirits in common cause. They are glad to have got there and sing and shout. If you are theologically literate you might be forgiven for imagining this could be heaven. Only it is Wellington - and it lasts 2 days rather than eternity and its about rugby not about God.

In fact it is only loosely about rugby. The event sells out in ten minutes and is vastly over-suscribed but for most of the two days there are huge gaps in the stadium and it is never totally full. Being there, getting there and enjoying it take precedence for most over the love of the game. It is great fun and an event that has become a highlight in the Wellington year.

If you look more closely at the crowd you will notice that people are in groups - usually dressed in similar vein. In fact several of the individual fancy dress prizes were won by trios. people choosing to go in either identical or as below complementary costumes.

I think that the "going together/being together" aspect of the Sevens is really interesting. Some of the groups are nationally orientated in support of the team. Like these colourful Fijians.

The desire to belong is strong. In an individualistic and fragmented world glimpses of community are precious. It is fun and fantasy and demonstrates in some cases enormous creativity and hard work. If we do not belong to a tribal group with customs, costumes and confidence perhaps we seek to forge our own expressions of belonging.

Which begs some interesting questions. How much do we have to conform to belong? How much diversity is desirable? and if the 7s fall some way short of actually being heaven on earth - where can I find a church that does it better?