In the best of all possible worlds, there is peace and prosperity. The sun always seems to shine and, even when it does not, there is a refreshing pleasantness to the rain. The natural order of things is seldom disturbed, and when the occasional unexpected event arises, it is viewed as a welcomed surprise. The car always starts, the checkbook always balances, and students have learned all that they have been taught.
However, this is not the nature of the world in which we live. Much of what we enjoy requires frequent attention. The car does not start unless we keep it serviced. The checkbook does not balance unless we keep accurate records. And many students do not remember much of what they have been taught, in spite of some of our best intentions and efforts.
We live in a real, rather than an ideal, world with an educational system that requires flexibility and ongoing change to achieve maximal success. Much of that necessary change is becoming an ongoing process in college classrooms.
I was an undergraduate student in a small liberal arts college almost 20 years ago. Today, my experiences as an assistant professor at that same college and, for six preceding years as an adjunct instructor, have given me an interesting perspective on the changes that are occurring in higher education. At the very center of this change are today’s students. Although neither they nor their instructors necessarily can predict where the changes will take us, together they appear to be providing the required cooperative leadership for improving education.