The College Influence on Student Character: An Exploratory Study in Selected Colleges and Universities Made for the Committee for the Study of Character Development in Education

By Edward D. Eddy Jr.; Mary Louise Parkhurst et al. | Go to book overview

8. The Selection of Goals

IN THE PRECEDING six chapters we have attempted to identify and then to discuss and illustrate the elements on a campus which, we believe, can lead to the encouragement of excellence in intellect and character. Now that we have spoken of the potential, it would be well to turn our attention briefly to what the college asserts it will attempt to do. This we call the selection of goals. We think it highly important that the college make such a selection carefully and realistically lest it be open to charges of fraud and hypocrisy. It may set its aims high but those aims should be partially attainable; an honest effort at least reduces the severity of the indictment.


The Rationale for Character Education

For our part, we conclude that the college cannot escape a responsibility for character education. The college is a part of the culture, and the culture demands that judgments be made. There are those who contend that the college can and should be completely objective. We hold that this is an impossibility. The college can never be truly objective for the simple reason that inescapably it reflects and promotes the culture of which it is a part. In the selection of goals, therefore, we feel that it is better to admit honestly that the colleges are sometimes not what they pretend to be, and then to select goals which truly reflect the possible and the potential.

All of this, of course, is not to say that the college cannot be objective within the framework of the culture. This more limited objectivity is what we believe the college should attempt to achieve. If one wishes to argue against this stand and to take the position that the college can and must be wholly objective, then

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