Faculty vs. Administrators

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This was in the April 23, 1976 issue of The Hoya . . . 

Rueckel and Robinson Debate University's Role In Society

By Pat Dinardo

"We shall prevail," proclaimed Dr. Daniel Robinson, Chairman of the Psychology Department, describing the inevitable result of the struggle for power between the faculty and administration."  The faculty is and always has been the enduring voice of any University," Robinson said.  He debated Vice·President of Student Development Dr. Patricia Rueckel before a highly-receptive crowd in Copley Formal Lounge on the student development policy of this University.
It was billed as a thought provoking debate on the role of a Liberal Arts education in our increasingly specialized society, but the talk between Dr. Daniel Robinson and Dr. Patricia Rueckel turned out, in fact, to be a discussion on conflicting views of what constitutes student development.
Dr. Robinson held the view that the "whole person" notion of student development is "totally irrelevant to the concept of education."  He stated that "the quality of· experience is the quality of the mind."  Repeatedly, Robinson insisted that "academia does not need the. bureaucratic expertise" and that "Georgetown is indeed too administrative." 
Dr. Rueckel, on the other hand, acknowledges the primary value of knowledge but insists "the environment must have meaning for the individual."  "The educational process includes not just knowledge, but those outside experiences which include interaction with others. This interaction is an application of what one comes to know."  It is her belief that the "complete person should have control of himself as a human being, not just his knowledge."
Dr. Robinson contended that "the dorms, theaters, deans, etc. of Student Development are desirable but, in fact, secondary to the primary purpose of education which is to cultivate critical and rational analysis. This spirit can only be conveyed by the faculty."  Robinson added that "the rigors of education and the excellence of teachers are the only necessary factors for the improvement of the mind."  He said "the money that is spent for anything by Student Development is not available for endowed chairs; we, therefore, lose too much in the quality of education."
Responding to Robinson's charge that "Student Government is like a a rock; it sits and never grows," Rueckel claimed that "student participation in the government of this University is an important part of their education here."  
After the debate over student development, Dr. Robinson dominated a discussion regarding the question: "Are students at Georgetown well·taught?" Robinson had this to say about the situation at Georgetown: "The grades have become, in effect, the tail wagging the dog; this, in turn, has a quality minimizing effect.  The students at Georgetown are too harried; there are too many courses and not enough teaching." 

If Robinson were around today, one wonders if his critique would be not that there was not enough teaching, but that there is way too much infantilizing and hand-holding.  

As the response to TGA and events last year clearly indicate, a fair number of students are mentally and emotionally weak individuals who will have a rude awakening once they leave Georgetown and enter the real world where if you claim you're terrified and traumatized and feel unsafe because ideas you don't like are expressed, you'll be looked down upon for the fool you are and quickly written off as a basket case.

Read our Ratio Studiorum for our take on how to get the most out of Georgetown.