With my schedule this semester, I’m unfortunately again no longer able to burn through two or three hundred pages and write an extended response each night — so I’ll be grateful for what I can get. I’ve been continuing to read Howard Tinberg, and very much enjoying what I’m reading. He’s in Massachusetts, too, but in Fall River, in that far southeastern corner of the state, so that the only way he could be further away from Amherst would be to be in Provincetown or Nantucket. Still, with all the thought-provoking discussions Cindy and Joanna and John and others have offered in relation to his ideas, and with the way that graduate students really get no exposure to the concerns of two-year institutions, I’m thinking about talking to my program and department chair about asking Professor Tinberg to come a couple hours west and give a lecture. There’s one other graduate student in my program with an interest in class studies and community colleges, and for the rest of us, I think it would be a big eye-opener and an informative and provocative exchange.
In my further reading, I was a little tickled to see that my supermarkets-of-higher-education analogies from last time weren’t entirely misplaced. Tinberg writes that in the community college, “what we hope to accomplish in our classrooms must be bigger than a narrow shopping list of ‘what our students need to know’” (12). Of course, I would say that the same holds true for four-year institutions. But there’s a tension here between narrowness and breadth, specialization and generalization, job skills and liberal education, that seems to sometimes shift or contradict itself, and I’m not sure how to sort it all out.