Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wake Forest and the Hatch Initiative: Finding Waldo

In article below on Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch’s initiative to bring in students without SATs. As to advance and matriculate into the general culture those with economic need. Conversation with former students and a thoughtful letter from a Wake undergraduate asks where is the money going to come from.

A regional counsel might be considered for those states which make up the general sensibility for the Wake Forest area – North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky (parts of) Georgia and Virginia however they decide it – to consider leadership needs regionally. We have begun to do this in Massachusetts and northern New England. Mitt Romney, as governor of Mass., began using our phrase “one size fits all federalism” to denote a wasteful concept and suggest that different regions have different needs and resources should be tailored to those needs. Such a regional counsel in the middle South might realistically face the fact that there are certain educational institutions in those states which consistently provide leadership in the South and that this leadership is elementary to the progress of the region. Wake Forest, W & L, Davidson, University of the South; these are time-honored cultural institutions and provide benchmarks to historical progress. Say any such institution which can find its way into the top say 40 list nationally – which would insure the quality of teacher and learner was globally competitive – would have some focused aid to insure the able poor or needy participate in the general culture of the region. It would face the fact that these particular schools provide leadership and cultural and historical continuity to the region and strengthen regional culture without excluding anyone. When I worked at Wake Forest Ed Wilson was Provost. He, Ed Christman, David Smiley and a few others would keep the focus on the region and the special needs of the region. Those particular needs evolve form the racial history of the country but particularly of the South. These are economic and cultural issues which will only be resolved in the region and by the region and not by dictation from an increasingly inept (Katrina) federal government. I’d hire on Bain & Co. to propose a management model. For myself, I would even offer a particular “leadership" undergraduate degree to these students or for any who wanted to go into public service there including law and medicine to educate on the special history and culture of the region, again, to tailor leaderships needs to specific regional purpose. Globalism is great but it is an outward moving direction of education which moves to the generic, the esoteric and the specialized. Training for regional leadership would feature the sword of discrimination, which is the key to all deeper learning and development – finding the path of opening and awakening and cutting away the waste and the irrelevant. It is like finding the “real Waldo” in a crowd of hundreds of false Waldos.