Blog Post: “Inventing the University”
My first initial reaction of “Inventing the University” by David Bartholomae just by reading the title prior to our first assignment, was a thought of “here we go”. What I mean by that, is how someone could possibly title their work with such a pronounced and direct statement. The title alone set of controversy and confusion in my head. There are so many different interpretations on how Universities and high educational institutions should be run, but Bartholomae attempts to standardize their foundations through his work.
After reading “Inventing the University” by David Bartholomae and reading the interview between him and Schlib I have found the best mindset and approach for me personally is to take everything with a grain of salt. I have found that the placebo effect of most academic institutions and their given demographics both intellectually and physically directly affect the standard Bartholomae wishes to promote.
From my understanding Bartholomae defines “Inventing the University” as a foundation and process where college students assimilate to in order to properly voice their ideas and opinions with confidence. He focuses on the relationship between the student and the reader (the professors in this case). Bartholomae identifies the connection between the two parties as an important building block to optimize the effectiveness towards a specific audience and community. He addresses various techniques and practices for college writers to better anticipate feedback from their readers.
Earlier in this post I mentioned standardized. The questions provided by Professor Wittig have served as a catalyst as to why I bear disbelief in “Inventing the University”. One of the questions addresses if I have noticed certain literary values in my university communities. To answer that question I have found that all three of my higher education experiences all had certain values of literary standards. Though they all had values, all of them had different standards to uphold those values. I have found my literary experience to be a roller coaster. I have found success with high marks in previous institutions but I have found that the grading on my work was a lot more lenient due to the nature of my school. The school I received my highest marks were at a community college. From my understanding enrollment is a centrifugal aspect of the business process of a community college. I can’t help but feel that my grades were inflated were used to sustain the business process. This example is just one out of the three perspectives I have experienced personally. Having these experiences makes it difficult to identify what writing standards I have reached and what standards I am capable of.
I understand that Bartholomae equips us with a process that seems to have lasted the last 30 years. I find that the 21st century and emerging technologies has made it more difficult to adopt that process. He identifies the student to teacher relationship but present day majority of our information is stored and conveyed through technology, specifically social media. We are in the time of “Now” or in other words business processes are geared toward providing a customer with what they want at a faster rate (e.g. amazon, jimmy johns etc.) A question that rises is how we are supposed to focus on our audience/community if that consists of the entire English speaking world.
Another element that has caused questioning for me is that his research pool of 500 students was not a large enough population relating to the complexity of this subject matter. I found that his data and research can be skewed depending on the passion of the given student. I find it easier to voice an opinion on something when you are passionate about it, let alone being able to write about it. This adds another variable to the process. Passion equates to effort level in my opinion. In a situations with passionate effort I have observed certain values of high education to be bent. An example would be a student who writes incredibly poorly may have improved so much that he earns an A for the course. But ultimately that student’s paper does not compare to the other As in the class but was only awarded due to the effort put forward. I believe a situation like this derives from a student finding a sense of voice
To be candid writing is definitely my weakest skillset and one of the main reasons I chose to transfer from a state school to the University of Richmond was to focus on my writing skills because I thought the literary standards from a liberal arts school such as the University of Richmond, would best prepare me for the business world. That is a standard that I have set for myself because I believe it yields the result of being able to apply to more prominent. Other people may not need to increase their literary standards but that is their path.
Here is the Link to my “Inventing the Interview” Podcast: