Recently I attended the Poehler Lecture here at Concordia. Now I am doing my blog on this subject for this week. The Lecture was given by Dr. Loma Meyer. If that name sounds familiar it should, it is the name of the main classroom building here at Concordia St. Paul. Dr. Meyer was Director of Instruction, Dean of the Faculty, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Executive Vice President. She held several of those positions at the same time. She has been involved in Minnesota education in many areas including higher education. Also she has worked with Education on the National level. Name something and Dr. Meyer has probably done it in the College/University realm. Her contributions to the world of education have been vast and very inspiring making many changes and improvements.
Dr. Meyer made many points during her lecture and overall one was talking about integrating faith and Learning. All the Poehler lectures are about integrating faith and learning and Dr. Meyer's was entitled Change: Integrating Faith and Learning. She discussed both the past of Concordia, the present, and what the future may hold. In each period she focused on specific aspects where Faith and Learning were integrated or how they were improving an integration form. In the past she discussed past Presidents and other leaders who looked at Concordia and wanted to more integrate faith and learning. Many programs came about in the past to do just this. In the present times with Dr. Holst she spent much time on how he has done this bringing change to Concordia. The biggest one under Dr. Holst has been the Honors Program which is designed to integrate one's faith as well as learning of all disciplines. She stated that the future holds many new and sometimes scary advances. The internet continues to expand as well as other technological advances which are starting to negate the requirement to meet face to face in a classroom area. With this becoming true new ideas need to be come up with on how to integrate faith and learning in this new era.
As I mentioned earlier integrating Faith and learning is a very big goal of the Honors Program. Connecting Dr. Meyer's address and the current Honors Program was a bit harder than I thought it would be. Dr. Meyer's address was mainly based in the past about what she knew the best as well as the uncertainty of the future. However a connection in my mind came when talking about the future. It can be a dark looming cloud on the world of Higher Education especially a program such as Honors. In Honors you spend eight hours a week, most times more and other classes, together. You become a family and a very good group of friends. If education is moving towards non-classroom based learning than an important part of the Honors program is lost I would feel. That connection of students is something I would define as essential to the Honors program. In this case I believe programs such as this must keep the classroom idea or else the learning will significantly diminish.