I think Albion is whacked out of its mind. I understand that while PTM was a charismatic and loving president, he hired far more professors than was possibly sustainable beyond a five year projection. I also understand that The Don is having to clean up his banana-suited mess. However, Albion’s Board of Trustees is acting hastily and furtively, leaving many current students and recent alumni with a bitter taste in our mouths. Then the college comes out with this newfangled program, the Albion Advantage, in the wake of an announcement wherein they fire at least 15 tenure-track professors. Bullshit.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that this Albion Advantage (conveniently abbreviated A.A. to go along with its “Always [Dr]inking” slogan), is worth its weight. The program’s essence is already at play in any good student’s life: you go to Albion; you decide on an end-goal of graduation with the potential for employment; you ask for help from fabulously qualified and caring professors and professional staff when you need it; you graduate; you go to grad school, a job, or your parents’ basement. This path is already in place for any future-oriented student who matriculates at Albion College. I do not believe for one minute that adding glossy brochures and slogans to a pre-existing core commitment will do any good for this up and coming generation of students. Current high school students/college students are part of a generation that moves too fast, expects the world to be at their fingertips, and is generally coddled by the force-fed belief that the world owes them something. In this way, I believe that Albion might as well install bidets in Wesley so that new students don’t even have to wipe their own asses.
I have spent a lot of time considering what exactly my alma mater stands for, and I’m worried. Our merit as an institute of higher learning should not be measured only in average annual salaries of recent graduates; it should be proven in successful displays of intelligence abounding in the great wide world. I fear that Albion’s narrowed focus on employability simultaneously devalues the liberal arts tradition and asks its matriculates to do less, to think less.
I demand more from Albion, whether or not they can make the front page of the Chronicle of Higher Education.