By Ellen Mannos, Career Management Faculty/Curriculum Chair.
In ancient Greek times, learning existed in the streets of Piraeus where you would have found Socrates roaming around encouraging youthful inquiring minds to think, question and argue. A more modern day version of this collective gathering would have existed, for example, during the 60’s and 70’s where a cluster of students could be found sitting on a floor outside an overcrowded classroom, or standing in the back of that classroom at Loyola University. There, students would have been listening to a certain Professor Szemler, sans PowerPoint, notes or book, preaching of Ancient and Medieval History and his own personal flee from Hungary in the 1950’s; executed in mesmerizing, operatic, and lyrical non-stop fashion fully armed with historical knowledge; in live performance never to be duplicated through podcast. He may have opened with something like, ”ladies and gentlemen, what is the etymological meaning of the word Pleistocene”, after which you knew you were on a wild adventure. Intense discussion would have taken place afterwards across the street at Connelly’s Bar over freshly brewed beer accompanied by cage-free organic hard-boiled eggs.
Today, you can now “toadie” on up to suite 624, circle on to your left and head east slowly toward the desks of Professors Michael Stelzer Jocks and Peter Stern for yet another kind of adventure. Just follow the smells of the ”specials of the day” coming from either Stelzer-Jocks’ organic cumin infused home grown barley-quinoa dish, or Stern’s leftover bone-in boutique cut veal chop with wild dandelion greens! (and the Michelin award goes to….)
Ah, but listen carefully – so put down your smart phones, please! You’ll hear them discuss the WW2 Battles of Kursk, Normandy or Stalingrad, or observe them watching some old footage of Russian Cossack’s, accompanied by a background of a Fredrick Chopin piano concerto which captures the then reality of historical pain & suffering.
Periodically, of course, Professors Stern and Stelzer Jocks would get up from their seats, stretch a bit and head due west to Professor Paul Gaszak’s desk for an impromptu discussion on sports where you might hear something as exhausting as listening to Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” , only the topic would be – “Das Deflatable Football”.
So, whoever said a liberal arts education is dead has not meandered up to Suite 624. But, ya gotta’ put your smart phones down, dear students………or you’ll miss the performances. Oh, and bring your lunch. There’s plenty of soft seating, tables, and ottomans; and you just might learn something about the “Ottoman Empire”, listen to a little Chopin in the background, watch the Cossacks on video crossing over to Istanbul, hear the discussions, friendly disagreements; and yes, even professors inquire about things they don’t’ know. After all, is not learning that which you do not know or question?
So put down your smart phones – please! Oh, and forget the elevator and take the stairs! If you question what all this has to do with your degrees in computer networking, sports fitness, medical assisting, pharm tech, etc., then you’d better run up those stairs. Come on, be a Spartan!