What I Love About Higher Education

23 02 2011

Today my students had a learning session at Glasshouse Radio, where they started understanding how to assemble a talk radio show. It was amazing to hear the ideas that my students had for shows. As we went around the room and allowed each one to present, many of them came up with some very thoughtful and engaging topics. One of the things I love about teaching at Howard is the intellect of the majority of the students. While there is a tendency among some of them to hide behind passivity, if pushed, they prove to be very conscious of their surroundings. Contrary to popular belief, all young people today don't just think about money, clothes and cars. They actually have opinions and it's always a blessing to hear their thoughts about race, politics, pop culture, media, etc. Listening to them often reminds me of the days of my college years when I was passionate about those very things and was always quick to offer an opinion about any one of them.

Later in the day, we had our Intellectual Discourse faculty meeting. These are meetings where the faculty come together and hear one of our colleagues discuss their ideas and philosophies about life, media, and their focus of study. Our department chair presented today and we had a great discussion about decoding the messages we see in the media, and whether or not as mediamakers we are responsible for tailoring those messages to serve a greater purpose.

I feel so blessed to be in the company of students and colleagues who challenge me to think again. My students help remind me that media production is not just about knowing software or how to shoot. It's also about messages, it's about having knowledge and understanding about how what we put on camera affects the worlds. My colleagues remind me that it's ok for me to still have thoughts and ideas, even though I am no longer a student myself. The shoe is on the other foot now and I'm in a position where I can help shape and influence the minds of the next generation by sharing my ideas and thoughts and philosophies with them. How cool is that?

It's been quite some time since I've been challenged in this way. It's been quite some time since I've been allowed to be an intellectual. And just like old times, it feels mighty nice! 🙂

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