February 16th, 2008

A Weekend With George Wythe

My wife and I just returned from having spent the weekend in Cedar City, attending a statesmanship retreat at George Wythe College. I’ve been accepted into their master’s program and started class a couple weeks ago.

The purpose of the retreat was to introduce prospective students to the educational model presented by George Wythe. The two days of lecture covered a broad range of topics—from differing educational models to learning environments to historical cycles—all aiming to illustrate the great need for statesman in our century.

I’ve been asked by several people why I chose to get a degree through GWC. My decision came after reading the 15 year history (.pdf) of the college and discovering in this institution the very educational format I had been craving for so long.

Part of the weekend of lecture covers the various forms of educational models. The primary three are Prussian, Latin, and Oxford. The Prussian (or “conveyor belt”) method is what most of us have grown up with in school: textbooks, multiple choice tests, teachers, etc. The Latin model is geared toward professionals and is found in your typical master’s or graduate program, where the student is trained to attain a set of skills relevant to their profession.

The third (and optimal) form of education is the Oxford model, implemented by the Thomas Jefferson Education model. The basic tenets of this teaching style are summarized in GWC’s Seven Keys of Great Teaching:

  • Classics, not Textbooks
  • Mentors, not Professors
  • Inspire, not Require
  • Quality, not Conformity
  • Structure Time, not Content
  • Simplicity, not Complexity
  • You, not Them (lead out with an inspiring example)

After doing my homework and learning more about this unique format (something I had been craving in an educational institution for some time), the reasons presented were convincing enough to lead me to sign the dotted line.

The match was so exact that throughout this weekend’s presentations, my wife could see how well this college fits what I’ve been looking for in a school. I’m convinced that it fits what most people crave who desire a true education: challenge, intellectual rigor, inspiring mentorship, high expectations, and a network of classmates all seeking to become educated and prepared for leadership and statesmanship in the 21st century.

George Wythe College is certainly not for everybody. The work load is intense, the intellectual expectations are high, and the reading lists are long. With so much on my plate already, I’m sometimes asked why I would add this program as well. My answer is that I’m not in the master’s program for the master’s itself. I couldn’t care less about the letters after my name or the diploma itself. I’m attending GWC to rub shoulders with like-minded individuals who really believe in the school’s mission statement, tap into their collective genius, be inspired by those around me, and offer my own perspective and ideas along the way. I’m adding this to my plate because it’s a crucial part of my development in becoming prepared for fulfilling my life’s mission.

I believe that education is a life-long pursuit worthy of constant application and mental exertion. I believe that there are right and wrong ways to educate oneself. I believe that there are fundamental principles enshrined in the classics that are as applicable today as they were when they were written. Since he who does not learn from history is condemned to repeat it, I believe that these are precisely the things we should be studying to find modern application and solve the problems of today by learning from the great minds of yesterday.

Luckily, GWC offers several opportunities for students in different situations. One can take classes on campus, through distance learning (independent study) or through extension courses offered in various locations. I myself will be doing extension courses once a week for the next few years, allowing me to integrate my studies into an already busy daily schedule.

The Oxford educational model is something I have grown to be passionate about, since finally having discovered what I had so long been looking for. If this is something that interests you, I invite you to attend an upcoming weekend retreat to learn more about what George Wythe College. Admission is free if I refer you, making it a cheap and enlightening weekend getaway to Cedar City. Drop me a line if you’re interested in learning more.

28 Responses to “A Weekend With George Wythe”

  1. Dan
    February 17, 2008 at 6:23 am #

    dude, you’ve got to get over this victimization ‘tude. While your post here is about this George Wythe College, you can just feel all the derision you have toward the rest of the world of education. You ain’t been victimized dude. Stop with that attitude.

  2. Daniel
    February 17, 2008 at 6:44 am #

    Sounds interesting. Let’s have a look at the website.

    George Wythe College stands on the belief that Statesmanship is the product of a particular educational system, known to the great leaders of the past, but lost to modern academia.

    Hmm. For some reason, a red flag just went up. What is ‘modern academia’? Is that some kind of code phrase? You mean most universities don’t teach the scientific method? Oh, wait — they do that. Does it mean that they’re not godly enough? Let’s keep going.

    It is a principle-centered process grounded in the belief in God and immutable moral law,

    Yikes! There’s the God flag. Believe in God if you want, but let’s not pretend that moral laws are immutable. They’re designed by people within a culture, and different cultures have different moral laws. The ones we have might not even be optimal.

    I’m a bit concerned now. Let’s move over to the testimonials.

    “In [Istanbul], I conferenced with a number of United Nations Delegates, and was successful in promoting the pro-family agenda in an extremely positive manner…George Wythe is preparing me and others to change the world.”

    Promoting the pro-family agenda? Is this part of the curriculum? I’m beginning to think you’ve got hold of a conservative think tank here, not a university.

    “George Wythe College is more than a college. It is a belief that there is a goodness in the world, that there is truth to be found, that there is a right and a wrong, and that I can change the world by changing myself.”

    See, in most universities, you learn how to conduct scientific research so you can contribute new knowledge to the scientific community. But here, it seems that you learn to absorb a certain set of values so that you can go forth and promote a certain brand of conservative policy.

    Connor, old man, I hope you have a good experience at your new school. They seem to place a good deal of emphasis on learning to think for yourself. I’d be curious to see if they mean it. The measure of this will be what happens when you get results that differ from the received wisdom of your mentors. Let me know if that happens — I’d like to hear about it.

  3. Connor
    February 17, 2008 at 10:31 am #

    Dan,

    dude, you’ve got to get over this victimization ‘tude. While your post here is about this George Wythe College, you can just feel all the derision you have toward the rest of the world of education. You ain’t been victimized dude. Stop with that attitude.

    Victimized attitude? Hardly.

    That accusation is like saying that a person who buys a chair at Wal-Mart that they don’t like, who later finds one at Sears that they like much better, has a victimized attitude when they say that they think the chair at Sears is far better than the one they had previously used.

    I know the Dans here take it personally because of their affiliation to the Prussian model of education, but I stand by my assessment that this model does nothing to truly educate a person. They may be crammed full of facts and knowledge, but I think actual learning is different.

    Daniel,

    What is ‘modern academia’? Is that some kind of code phrase?

    This refers to all schools (elementary through university) that primarily use the Prussian and Latin models of education. What has been lost, and what that section refers to, is the Oxford model.

    Believe in God if you want, but let’s not pretend that moral laws are immutable.

    Moral laws are natural laws, the very foundation of our codified law in the United States. Moral/Natural laws are indeed immutable.

    Promoting the pro-family agenda? Is this part of the curriculum? I’m beginning to think you’ve got hold of a conservative think tank here, not a university.

    This is a testimonial, not a declaration of institutionalized practice. However, yes, the family is very important in the Oxford model. Families are the very core of society, and the destruction of families will inevitably lead to the disintegration of society as a whole. It is only in strong families, where both parents fulfill their roles and provide an environment of learning, growth, and security that leaders will be born who will be well equipped to steer society in the right direction.

    But here, it seems that you learn to absorb a certain set of values so that you can go forth and promote a certain brand of conservative policy.

    The scientific method is very much used to test truth. However, you are also correct in that a certain set of values are propagated. These values are what defines a “classic” – a creation that is based on lasting truth, applicable throughout the ages. Those classics and their set of values, are very much needed in our society today. We’ve ignored their importance, and are repeating history once more.

    They seem to place a good deal of emphasis on learning to think for yourself. I’d be curious to see if they mean it.

    They very much mean it. The colloquia are interesting, as students come together and hash out what’s been read during that week, each critiquing the principles and arguing their best application. It is in this learning environment—steered by a mentor—that such debate and independent thought prevails. You won’t see that happen much in a Prussian/Latin model where the teacher feigns omniscience and mandates that their students regurgitate the facts that have been taught.

  4. Dan
    February 17, 2008 at 3:04 pm #

    Connor,

    What’s the difference between a Bob Jones University and George Wythe College? To this point, I see nothing different. You can go there, and you can promote it all you want. I really don’t care. But stop attacking the system that provided you with the education and research skills you currently have.

  5. Doug Bayless
    February 17, 2008 at 3:39 pm #

    Connor,

    George Wythe looks interesting and like something that someone like you could indeed benefit from.

    Like Daniel suggests, some programs in some fields are well served by teaching how to “conduct scientific research so you can contribute new knowledge to the scientific community.” That works for certain fields of science – genetics, physics, or medical research for instance. But I certainly wouldn’t argue those are the only fields of advanced learning that anybody ought to pursue.

    I also don’t quite see the victimization that Dan sees. I do think it’s kind of hard to get all students to pursue what you’re calling the ‘Oxford model’ and consequently I see great value in other teaching models that help reach even the kind of students that really have no interest in learning but I think it’s OK to say that you don’t enjoy that or seek after that for your advanced studies.

    It’s certainly true that in the fields you are expressing interest and at the level you wish to pursue them, the model George Wythe proposes looks promising. It’s not like you’re looking for a vo-tech to teach you the latest technology and research methods (I’ve got the impression that you already have the computer vocational skills necessary to make a living). Philosophy, Governance, Diplomacy, etc. are a little different than that. But I’ve seen those subjects taught the vo-tech way: “here’s how the system works now and here’s the buttons you need to push because everybody pushes them and all the good jobs use this system.” I actually have a friend who is doing a Masters in “Diplomacy” from a big name school and his description of the program sure seems kinda “vo-tech” . . . so I do think it happens.

    I’ve been trying to motivate myself to read things like the Federalist Papers and the kind of preceding literature that inspired our Founders to write documents like those. I’m always surprised when I find some of those things so relevant to today’s problems but so unknown. It just seems like the only people these days who might even read the Federalist Papers, for instance, are law students rushing through a “Constitutional Law” class with specific objectives in mind. Consequently the Professors and texts guide them through pre-determined passages with expected outcomes.

    I can’t see much downside to signing up for something that motivates you to explore the classics of “statemanship” – they seem much ignored and too often boiled-down to unquestioned platitudes.

  6. February 17, 2008 at 3:47 pm #

    ‘Gratz on being accepted, and I hope you enjoy yourself.

    Master of political science, eh? (Just don’t quit your day job……heh heh…)

    What you wrote about the different kinds of education models got me thinking about the basic question, “what’s the best way to ‘educate’, a person.”

    The most common method is of course based on fear of failure. This is understandable, since on the whole, people are more likely to try to avoid that which they fear, than they are to reach for that which they value or love. People tend to respond more predictibly (albeit poorly) to fear, than they do to inspiration or encouragement.

    But I think fear is a particularly poor educational and motivational tool, because avoiding fear is a “minimization” process. We tend to only expend the minimum amount of effort required to overcome our fear or discomfort. Then, in the absence of anything to inspire us, we remain stagnant.

    The whole view of “minimizing potential energy” works well as a metaphorical device, to explain much of the “Bureaucratic-Educational Industrial Complex.”

    Now, I’m an amateur musician. I’m recalling here many experiences I’ve had playing under the baton of great,; conductors, and also under poor ones.

    I think the exact same things that make a truly great and inspiring conductor are the ones that make a great teacher/ mentor/ leader; as all teachers need to be leaders.

    Specifically, Students are taught by example, not by rote and memorization of rules. They are encouraged to love and seek out *correct principles*, not to work in order to avoid consequences. Teachers encourage and inspire personal excellence,, but allow students to fail and make mistakes, and merely point them in the right direction when they do so. Students are not bullied or coerced into conformity, nor measured against any gold standard, but creativity, cooperation, enthusiasm, problem solving, clear insightful thinking, and self-extension are rewarded in ALL students!

    Teachers should consider earning the utmost attention and trust of their students to be a challenge, not something they are entitled, to…

    More than anything, a teacher should strive for students to develop a LOVE for that which is being taught, because then they will teach themselves!

    I had an interesting discussion the other day with a fellow engineering major. He was complaining about the poor state of math and science education (and hence scientific awareness) in America. What struck me was how he said when he tells other people that he’s studying engineering and mathematics, almost everybody says “I hate math,” or “I suck at math,” or “I don’t know anything about math.”

    Is the only lasting thing that public schools has taught them, is a profound sense of their own failure?

    Anyways, what was everybody saying?

  7. Connor
    February 17, 2008 at 4:33 pm #

    Dan,

    What’s the difference between a Bob Jones University and George Wythe College?

    There are substantial and numerous differences. I’ve listed a few. If you want to know what they are, go read their website.

    But stop attacking the system that provided you with the education and research skills you currently have.

    Pointing out differences and opining on which is better constitutes an attack? The fact of the matter is that very little of my current education and knowledge base is derived from my previous schooling.

    Oh, and hey Dan.. you never answered question #2

    Doug,

    …but I think it’s OK to say that you don’t enjoy that or seek after that for your advanced studies.

    I agree that certain models have certain traits that some might find useful in some fields of studies. But I’m referring here in this post to a true and overall education. That element of schooling is long since lost, due to Prussian and Latin models, thus leaving a student with a bunch of knowledge but little education. Textbooks are often biased, presenting history as the authors see fit, and very infrequently do schools encourage or require their studies to read the actual source material of the persons in question. We get summaries and sound bytes.

    To that end, I still argue that the Oxford model is better for a general and true education.

    It just seems like the only people these days who might even read the Federalist Papers, for instance, are law students rushing through a “Constitutional Law” class with specific objectives in mind. Consequently the Professors and texts guide them through pre-determined passages with expected outcomes.

    Coincidentally, this example was shared by Dr. DeMille during one of his lectures. He mentioned how one student graduated with his Bachelors in Statesmanship and went onto law school. During his first day of class, the student was informed that he would be studying 40 hours per week, and that in the class, they would have to read The Federalist Papers. The student breezed through the class, since he had already internalized the entire book, and was used to studying far more than 40 hours a week. All the pre-law students coming from universities were weighed down by this new load and set of requirements, whereas the GWC grad considered it a cake walk.

    Josh,

    You make some excellent points. I do agree that a grade-based, multiple-choice-style testing structure encourages fear-based learning. This becomes visible when a teacher, while “teaching”, mentions “this might be on the test”. The ears of the students perk up a bit, and they pay attention. The write down the factoid, memorize it for the test, only to forget it days later. That, I argue, is not learning.

    I likewise agree that many people grow to strongly dislike (if not utterly detest) certain subject. Like you said, I think that this stems from a poor educational model and substandard teachers. I believe that the right kind of teacher (mentor) can make any subject inspiring. It is a poor instructor that will make the most enlightening of subjects boring and intolerable.

  8. Daniel
    February 17, 2008 at 6:48 pm #

    I know the Dans here take it personally because of their affiliation to the Prussian model of education, but I stand by my assessment that this model does nothing to truly educate a person. They may be crammed full of facts and knowledge, but I think actual learning is different.

    See, now that’s just plain inaccurate.

    You’re not an educator, Connor, so it’s okay if you don’t know what’s happening in the area. Let me tell you.

    University educators are well aware of the dangers of the model you’re describing. The folks at GWU may be telling you that they’ve rediscovered the true lost art of teaching (good heavens, will Mormons believe anything if it’s presented in a restorationalist frame?!), but these principles are well-known and well-used in universities today.

    A whole body of research has been done on how to overcome what you call ‘The Prussian Model’. It goes all the way back to Rousseau, who suggested getting away from the tabula rasa or ‘blank slate’ model. Other educators since (especially Paulo Friere) have been sharply critical of what’s known as the ‘banking theory’ of education. Recent approaches involve outcome based education, and problem-based learning.

    If you came to one of my linguistics classes, you’d be presented with real language data, and some tools to help you analyse it. You might have some important things to memorise, and that would help you to know what people have done in the field up to the present so you wouldn’t reinvent the wheel. But I’d try and make it interesting. By the end of the activity, you’d have brought your own unique knowledge and experiences to bear on a linguistic problem, and you would have experience in doing something that perhaps you hadn’t thought much of before.

    If you want to find out more about current teaching models, you may want to browse the International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (or IJTLHE).

    They didn’t figure all this out in Cedar City. It’s been going on for a long time.

  9. Dan
    February 17, 2008 at 6:54 pm #

    But Daniel, don’t you know, that’s like a socialist journal, probably funded by the Rockefellers.

  10. Dan
    February 17, 2008 at 7:10 pm #

    DUDE! Where’s the college’s library? They don’t have a link anywhere on their website for their library. I’m sorry but a college that doesn’t even have a library is not a very good place to study.

  11. Sean
    February 17, 2008 at 10:47 pm #

    I attended a Thomas Jefferson Education Forum in 2006 in Salt Lake City. I loved it. I wish I had more time to pursue formal education there, but instead content myself with slowly pursuing what I can on my own. I’m a little envious of you, Connor :).

    I hope you’ll post about more of your experiences with GWC.

  12. David
    February 18, 2008 at 8:48 am #

    Be careful while “[rubbing] shoulders with like-minded individuals” to avoid one trap that I have seen many advocates of GWC fall into – that is, believing (incorrectly) that there in no value to be had in the latin or prussian models of education. Those may not be the models that suit your need, or even the prevailing need of the time but that does not mean they have no place in educating people.

    I do know quite a few proponents of GWC and a Thomas Jefferson Education who believe this, but take note that even Oliver DeMille never says that.

  13. February 18, 2008 at 3:09 pm #

    My brother Robb is attending GWC currently in Cedar City. It is my opinion that many of these students will be the future leaders of America. My brother has experienced a transformation while going to school there. I attended a regular University to get my “Piece of Paper” that says I am a master of something when in reality the school did little to prepare me for my field. GWC people are most likely the people who will be left holding the Constitution up when it is finally torn to shreds. We will need men like Connor to educate the ignorant masses on the proper role of government.

  14. February 24, 2008 at 10:49 am #

    Connor:

    As a general rule, I do not envy what others do, have, or say or purport to do, have, or say. That being said, your decision to affiliate yourself with the George Wythe College is, indeed, enviable. I offer you my heartfelt congratulations and express my sincerest thanks for being inspired enough to recognize the absolute superiority of this unique institute of higher learning. I do not believe in coincidence, and I am certain the Lord has seen to it that you have been guided toward this opportunity. I have no doubt you will excel in your studies and will emerge prepared to be a leader in our troubled land.

    As to the commentary of the usual perpetrators of babble, I would again say, phooey!

  15. Travis
    February 28, 2008 at 10:43 am #

    If I were to go back to school (not going to happen), GWC would be on my list of schools. I was very impressed by the book explaining their educational philosophy, and I would like to see it in action.

    Congratulations, and good luck in your endeavor.

  16. June 17, 2008 at 8:33 am #

    Look man, I hate to break it to you, but you’ve been conned, bad! Before your common sense slips forever from your grasp I implore you to open your mind and see this distorted organization for what it is. Socially warped and academically deficient. They’re playing you for a fool.

  17. Helaman
    June 18, 2008 at 2:23 pm #

    Open your mind? Opening your mind would be looking outside the box (the box being what is spoon fed at the slowest common denominator in public schools).

    I don’t believe mormonism has anything to do with it either. There are references to George Whythe’s teaching methods outside the world of the LDS, I’d even be willing to bet there’s a lot who don’t know who he was. One book in particular that I know off the top of my head is “John Adams” by David McCullough which talks briefly about his methods and how they helped Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

    Personally, I do not like the current state of public education. No child left behind is not helping either. I also can see what it’s done to one of my children and what it was starting to to do to another, exactly what it did to me – I hated school, I hated learning and would fight every step of the way and do the bear minimum to get through. I don’t want my kids to go through the same struggle and end up hating learning.

    We use the Thomas Jefferson method in our home and I think it’s a great deal better then public schooling, but that is just an opinion…

    P.S. Congrats on getting excepted Connor, I hope my kids will get in when they’re old enough!

  18. June 29, 2008 at 10:17 pm #

    I’d like to know the name of the GWC grad who got into Law School. Was he accepted based on a previous degree from an accredited university? GWC speaks so much of leadership. Leading what? What of any importance have GWC grads ever led? Give me some examples. If this is such a great system, why are the majority of GWC grads not “leading” in the real world? The way you put it, they should be leaps and bounds above everyone else.

    I don’t believe from the classics is bad, I just believe it to be secondary to putting food on the table (more like a hobby than preparation for the real world). I also agree with the previous comment about not reinventing the wheel. I don’t need to go back and read a book by Newton to understand mathematics or physics. Was he a genius? Absolutely. Does that mean he was a good teacher? Certainly not. Is it possible someone else may be able to teach the same principles in a more effective and meaningful way? I certainly hope so. Is my education somehow tainted by learning it from somebody else? Learning from the work of 1,000s of mathematicians, physicists and engineers building on Newtonian theory may be slightly more reliable than 1 guy from the 1600s. I mean the guy was amazing, no doubt, but he didn’t have all the answers (though he did have a lot of them spot on).

  19. Jeff T
    June 29, 2008 at 11:03 pm #

    Aaron,

    You’d be surprised at how many people fail to comprehend the philosophy of the natural sciences because they’ve never read Newton. Just saying.

    Well, sure, you could build an airplane just fine, but understanding the deeper philosophies and assumptions that we make about the natural world requires a historical basis.

  20. July 21, 2008 at 12:38 pm #

    Has anyone ever not been accepted into George Wythe College?

  21. January 25, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

    If you are interested in learning more about the educational conveyor belt system currently being used throughout the US in Public schools I refer you to John Taylor Gatto’s book The Underground History of American Education. After reading this book it became clear why I needed to throw all textbooks and curriculum standards away and teach my students how to think…this does not mean I rejected those who thought differently from me were wrong I merely required them to support their positions with sound reasoning, historical justification, and thoughfulness. As a former public school teacher I can tell you that our public schools are not set up to encourage independent thinking, critical thinking, or pondering.

    Our current crop of politicians are not courageous leaders, we need leaders who unabashedly proclaim principles without fear of the consequences. Third party candidates will speak without fear but both major parties are absent any real substance grounded in truth.

  22. DissentFromDayOneDOTcom
    May 31, 2009 at 5:54 am #

    I have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from traditionally “accredited” universities, and was looking for more.

    GWU (it has changed to “university”) looks great and they have started a fully-online program starting this summer ’09.

    I’m interested in the PhD in Constitutional Law program.

    Whoever above mentioned the Rockefeller Foundation is so right. American education (from public schools through college) has one goal in mind: preparing the sheeple for a life of enslavement.

    Read “Educating for the New World Order” by B. K. Eakman for a fine treatise.

    It’s time to bring back the spirit of the Founding Fathers and throw off once again the yoke of tyranny from the elites.

    You didn’t actually think “climate change” was about, ahem, climate change did you?

  23. June 29, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    As I read through the comments I am sad that some people feel the need to try to discredit GWU. The school is young but powerful. I graduated in 2003; it takes effort and time to build something great. That is the beauty of it. Current students and graduates are putting in the effort; they are writing, building organizations and making a difference––which also takes time. Other schools produce great students as well, but I am grateful for the rigorous studies, and for the professors at GWU.

    If GWU is considered a diploma mill by some, it is because they have not come to GWU and experienced the rigor of reading stacks of classics from different fields of study, participating in hundreds of discussions that challenge assumptions, stood before scrutinizing oral examinations, taken on roles in dozens of difficult simulations and then applied it all through field-experience, all of this before graduation. After graduation, you find yourself thrust into a world of impact. The momentum of having discovered “the Great Conversation” portends a life of additional studies in the classics. You have a sort-of arsenal of education, which is used in so many ways and in so many aspects of life.

    How can you put a price on such an education or compare it with what might be called “job mill” institutions? They are simply two different types of schools. GWU does prepare students for graduate studies, if that is what a student wants. This year students are attending St. Johns, Columbia, Acton and George Washington University, to name a few. If a person wants a challenging powerful education, GWU is a great place to go about it. I would recommend this kind of higher education to anyone, without reservation.

    You’ll have no regrets if you seriously engage in a GWU education. Have fun Dan.

  24. November 1, 2009 at 7:28 pm #

    I am a lawyer. I am interested to know if the “law student” from GWU is at an accredited law school. I’m impressed if a student is “breezing” through Stanford Law School, but I’m not impressed if a student is having an easy time at Morty’s School of Law located in a strip mall in the Inland Empire in California.

  25. November 20, 2009 at 6:05 pm #

    Yes, that student is at a respected, accredited law school. Accreditation is a regional affair, and as such is subject to acceptance or rejection by any institution anyway. I agree with the poster who mentions the fact that GWU is in its infancy. Harvard was not particularly impressive in its first few years; in fact I would venture to say that it didn’t look entirely different, in principle, from the current GWU. Both are/were primarily concerned with religious principles and the reading and writing about (and hopefully applying) classics. Leaders are expected to learn from the successes and mistakes of the past. I’m not trying to say that gwu is the next harvard, far from it. But any flaws relating to gwu being a young and underfunded institution really can’t be generalized to the worth of the university or its goals or methods. I graduated with honors from an ivy league college and I can tell you that it is possible to do so without feeling a sense of being ‘educated’ in the things that matter to our society. I cannot blame this on the school – the fault is entirely mine – if I wanted that kind of education I should have sought it out myself. Most people, though, will not have the awareness or motivation to do that, I suppose. I didn’t at the time. Public schools are necessary, critical to society. I do think they would improve if the ‘leadership education’ principles were applied and students read and discussed more original works. The most expensive private high schools in the US (Exeter, etc.) still require these things of their students. In conclusion, I’d just like to say: Dont knock it just because it’s counter-cultural. Our culture doesn’t necessarily have all the right answers.

  26. March 22, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    I found your site because I was researching GWU. A candidate for Nevada governor has a daughter going there. Anyway, I must say that I have mixed feelings about GWU and any college or university that promotes one way of thinking. As an English professor at UNLV, I favor reading the great books (though I believe we could engage in spirited debate over which books belong on that list) and learning from them. But, I do not believe there is one path that will be reached through literature. Any university that has a particular ideology as its core seems to me to be fostering an agenda rather than preparing students truly to think for themselves. In our own department, we have a professor who takes a very traditional approach to the study of Shakespeare, and we have another who uses what she calls a presentist approach. Both have engaged in outstanding scholarship and really know, understand, and apply the Bard to their research. How exciting to be in a department where two such seemingly disparate views are welcomed. Connor, I’m curious, would one have the freedom to look at gender variability through Shakespeare’s texts at GWU?

  27. May 10, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    Wow! There is some opposition to GWU! Why all the anger? Interesting that the discussion is trying to compare the two distinct methods of Oxford and Prussian. Both are useful and needed; one to improve the man, the other to train him for a career.

    My daughter chose to attend GWU before attending an accredited university for two reasons: to expand her mind with beautiful literature (reading nearly 4000 pages per semester) and to improve her character through the great mentors in the classics. She preferred character building over credentials at that point in life, and yet knew after a bachelor’s degree she would be better prepared to get a Masters in her area of focus from an accredited university.

    In our opinion, both kinds of learning are essential to build our nation with skilled statesmen.

    I hope someday those who are upset about GWU can see how the two divergent institutions are interconnected, and yet incomparable because of the contrasting nature of both.

  28. May 11, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    this is very interesting. I don’t want to go too deeply into my personal experience, because I’m paranoid. LOL!

    I qualify as being well-educated in a worldly sense, and I have associated with many highly educated people.

    As an older person, I can say that my attitudes about education are vastly different now from what they were when I was in the process of ambitiously pursuing degrees, er . . . knowledge.

    *oops*

    Yes, since most of *us* are products of a particular educational experience, it’s hard to know if we are getting outside of our experience enough to see objectively any other type of educational experience.

    Having said that . . . there seems to be a lot of ‘sneering’ on the topic of George Wythe (College)–

    I have never been there or looked into it or met anyone who has had anything to do with it.

    But, if *we* are so busy being limited to *our* own (choose one): nation, religion, profession, college, etc.–

    that *we* can’t see outside that box, then more is the pity–

    Having raised a family of children with unique gifts and talents and educational abilities, I can ‘testify’ that “modern” education is lacking something.

    I am meeting more and more young people who are “highly” educated who can’t carry on a conversation about something that is not in their particular ‘field’–

    which I find quite sad.

    I am meeting older people in the church who have pursued high-paying professions after having received whatever terminal degrees were required for those professions–

    who . . .

    are so narrow-minded and so socially-limited as to make me seriously worried about the future of (choose one): nation, church, community, world, etc.–

    So, to all the snide people: when *you* find out that your square world really was round–

    remember those of us who knew it all along–

    LOL!

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