Good Professors are Childlike - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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College Preparation President's Desk
February 5, 2016

Good Professors are Childlike

When I taught Algebra I to fourteen-year-olds in 9th grade, many of them would switch during the year from a child’s outlook to an adult’s. They showed the change by asking the utilitarian question, “When am I going to use Algebra?” Elementary and middle school students rarely ask that question: they readily learn whatever they find interesting. Some people keep that puppy/kitten curiosity all their lives, but many people turn “practical.”

Professors tend to be people who all their lives continue to want to learn and discover things simply because they find them interesting. That continuing thirst to learn is one thing that makes them good professors. Unfortunately, their interests often look to “practical” people as simply loony, a reaction that usually leaves professors quite unbothered.

There are many questions that Geneva College professors pursue with that childlike curiosity. Here are some of the things that Geneva College professors got interested in and then wrote about that I find interesting, meaning that, if I had the time, I would enjoy reading.

  • Bob Frazier’s paper that he presented at the Franciscan University Conference on Beauty: “Philo’s Conception of Beauty.” Americans generally have stopped thinking about the meaning of beauty, and I would enjoy reading what a brilliant Jew in Alexandria thought about it a long time ago.
  • Esther Meek’s paper soon to be published in a collection of essays: “A Reformed View of Life and Learning: Covenant Epistemology.” Epistemology (how you know what you know) has been a central conundrum of Western philosophy for over two hundred years. I would enjoy reading Esther’s proposed Christian approach to it.
  • I have no interest in reading Jonathan Watt’s paper, “From Adams (1885) to Zimmermann (2009): “In, With and Under the Substance of Prepositions.” Prepositions just don’t do it for me. On the other hand, “Getting Along: Politeness Theory and the Gospelswas very interesting when Jonathan presented it at a faculty luncheon.
  • I would like to read Daryl Sas’ article, “Selflessness vs. Autonomy at the End of Life.” The work by David Essig and Rodney Austin on the heparinus pedobacter genome project sounds deadly to me because I completely lack the background knowledge to appreciate it.
  • Finally, I found Eric Miller’s review of a book by a Calvin College author in Christianity Today, “Putting Worldview in its Place,” (August 18, 2009) online and read it. You should too.

Dr. William Edgar, Interim President

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