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What Would An Ideal College Look Like? A Lot Like This
理想大学是何模样?更像这样
2015/9/1 14:28:44 来源: 英语文摘

If you've been attentive to the growing series of posts here under the banner of the American Futures project, you know that Deb and Jim Fallows have been examining small, resilient American cities that are home to intriguing innovations and entrepreneurship.

如果你细心留意过本刊上一系列题为“未来美国”的文章,就会知道,德布·法洛斯和吉姆·法洛斯一直在考察一些富有活力的美国小城。就是这些小城市激发了人们的革新之情与创业精神。

A few days ago, as part of the project's recent focus on Burlington, Vermont, I took a look at two of the three great colleges there. Now let’s look in on the third, Champlain College. You'll see why this one fits the project's ongoing "American ingenuity" theme.

近来一段时间,“未来美国”将注意力转向了佛蒙特州的伯灵顿市。作为该项目的一部分,我在几天前考察了当地三所知名大学中的两所。现在我们去第三所大学尚普兰学院看一看,你就会明白为什么这所学校符合该项目当前的“美国独创力”的主题。

If you could design your ideal college from scratch, what would it look like? Mine would look something like the following. Students would acquire training that makes them immediately employable. They'd take courses in the liberal arts that would sharpen their skills in writing, analysis, and reasoning. And they'd graduate with some real-life knowledge, such as how to interview for a job. There'd be no tenure for faculty, but instructors would be made to feel they're valued members of the enterprise. And administrators would constantly ask themselves "how can we prepare students for what the world needs of them?"

如果你可以从头开始设计心目中的理想大学,它会是什么样的呢?我的理想大学差不多是这样的:学生们受到的培养教育可以让他们直接步入职场;他们会修一些有助于提高写作、分析和推理能力的文科课程,毕业时还会学到一些实用的知识,比如说怎样求职面试;我们不会再为教师们提供终身职位,但会让他们觉得自己是教育事业中宝贵的一员;而校行政人员则要时常问自己,“我们要怎样培养社会所需要的人才呢?”

While you're busy designing your version of the ideal, I can take a nap or go fishing, because somebody has already built mine: Champlain College. It is doing everything I've described and, in the process, is gaining the attention of the higher-ed world. The words I've heard used to describe Champlain include innovative, nimble, adaptable. A professor from nearby St. Michael's College told me, with unabashed admiration, "Champlain is always asking itself What works?"

当你还在忙着设计自己理想大学的时候,我可以去小睡一会儿,或者去钓钓鱼,因为我心中的理想大学已经有人建好了,那就是尚普兰学院。我刚才所说的每一条它都在实行,而且在这一过程中逐渐赢得高等教育界的关注。我听过有人用“善于创新”、“头脑灵活”和“适应性强”之类的词语来形容这所大学。附近圣迈克尔学院的一位教授向我说起尚普兰学院的时候,也毫不掩饰他的羡慕之情,“尚普兰林学院总是在自问:怎样才能行之有效呢?”

Founded in 1878 and long known as the Burlington Business College, Champlain assumed its current name in 1958, when it had only 60 students in various associate's degree programs. Starting bachelor's degree programs in 1991, the college now enrolls 2000 undergraduates - an enrollment cap it committed to several years ago in an agreement with the student-rich city of Burlington.

尚普兰学院始建于1878年,之后很长一段时间一直叫“伯灵顿商学院”。1958年起改用现在的校名,当时还只有60名学生,分别攻读不同的准学士学位课程。该学院从1991年开始提供学士学位课程,现在共有在校本科生2000名,达到了几年前与生源丰富的伯灵顿市协定的招生上限。

When it launched its bachelor's programs, this college long known for training secretaries and accountants, began to reinvent itself, earning respect for its enterprising spirit.

尚普兰学院向来以培养秘书和会计而知名,所以当它开始开设学士学位课程时,也开始重塑自我,并且因其锐意进取的精神获得了人们的尊敬。

The dominant ethos of Champlain - that "what works?" mentality - intensified when David Finney arrived from NYU in 2005 to become president. Finney quickly instituted what he calls a "three-dimensional education" program, an undergraduate curriculum consisting of interdisciplinary liberal-arts courses, a life-skills program, and training for a career.

2005年,戴维·芬尼从纽约大学来到尚普兰学院担任校长,该学院的主导意识“怎样才能行之有效?”随之进一步强化。芬尼很快就开始着手创建一套本科生课程,包括跨学科文科课程、生活技能和职业培训。他将这种课程称之为“三维教育”计划。

Though it's a career-focused college, Champlain requires its students to take a core curriculum of liberal-arts courses over four years to enhance intellectual discipline and critical thinking.

尽管尚普兰学院是一所注重就业的院校,学生在4年在校期间仍然需要修一门文科核心课程,以此来增长知识、提高思辨能力。

Believing that "American higher education has really lost its way with general-education courses," Finney told me that when he arrived in his new job, he decided to spend all of his "honeymoon capital" as new president to replace the "hodge-podge of courses" that formed the liberal-arts core.

芬尼认为,美国的高等教育实际上已在普通教育课程上迷失了方向。他告诉我说,刚刚走上新岗位的时候,他就决定利用新校长的“三把火”,把过去大杂烩式的文科核心课程换掉。

He assembled a faculty task force to design a revised core aiming to build habits of mind students will need "not just as they're leaving here," Finney says, "but over their lifetime."

他专门组织了一个教师特别工作组来设计和修正核心课程,以此来培养学生们的思维习惯。他说,学生们“不是仅仅在离校时才需要这些习惯,而是终身都需要”。

A painstaking process of reinvention led to new core courses designed to help students develop global awareness and strengthen their analytical and reasoning abilities, critical reading skills, and writing proficiency.

经过一番煞费苦心的重塑,尚普兰学院有了全新的核心课程,有利于培养学生的大局意识,加强分析和推理能力,提高批判性阅读技能和写作水平。

These courses have no tests. The work is heavily oriented toward writing. Classes consist mainly of discussion and project teamwork rather than lectures. Students and faculty are active learners together.

这些课程不需要考试,只需要大量地写作。课堂上也主要是以讨论和团队项目为主,而不是教师授课。学生们和老师们共同主动地进行学习。

A second component of Champlain's undergraduate education comes through its required "Life Experience and Action Dimension" program, which has two parts: (1) some real-world education, emphasizing financial literacy and sophistication (developing a budget, making sense of credit cards, understanding how employee benefits work and why they’re important, etc.) and job skills (marketing oneself, negotiating business contracts, and developing skills in interviewing, networking, etc.); and (2) a community-service element that puts students to work helping Burlington’s needy and simultaneously broadening cultural awareness and a sense of engaged citizenship.

尚普兰学院本科生教育的第二个要素是通过必修的“生活经历与行为特性”项目实现的。该项目又分为两个部分:(1)实用教育,注重学生的金融基本知识和高水准(制定预算,搞懂信用卡的基本知识,了解职工福利运作机制及其重要性等)以及工作技巧(推销自己,洽谈贸易合同,培养面试技巧,建立工作关系网等);(2)社区服务,让学生们为伯灵顿市那些贫困或需要精神支持的市民提供服务,同时拓展学生们的文化视野,培养其公民参与意识。

The third element of a Champlain education, and the part for which the college is probably best known, is its career-oriented training.

普尚兰学院的第三个教育要素就是它重视职业培训,这可能也是它最负盛名的一点。

At Champlain, "professional education" doesn't just mean traditional majors like marketing or accounting, but an array of innovative concentrations such as computer and digital forensics, computer networking and cybersecurity, computer-game art design and animation, digital and streaming media.

在尚普兰学院,“职业教育”并不单单指营销或会计一类的传统专业,而是一系列极其需要创新精神的专业,例如计算机与数字取证、计算机网络与网络安全、计算机游戏艺术设计与动画,以及数字化与流媒体。

Moreover, Champlain inaugurated an inventive "upside-down curriculum," allowing first-year students to take up to six classes in their major.

除此之外,尚普兰学院还独具匠心地开创了一种“倒置式课程”,允许一年级的学生修多达6门的专业课。

Consequently, students get hands-on-learning experiences right off the bat, with theory saved for later. This helps students get internships and early job offers.

因此,学生们可以马上获得实践性的学习体验,而将理论留着以后再学。这样做能帮助学生获得实习机会,并且早早地拿到聘用通知。

According to an article in Seven Days - the successful print newspaper in Burlington that Jim profiled last month - Champlain students in majors like cybersecurity (recently recognized as the top such program in the country) "are now so highly sought after that many are being recruited while still in their junior year, and sometimes even earlier."

上个月,吉姆写文章介绍了伯灵顿市一家很受欢迎的纸质报纸《七日》。根据该报上的一篇文章报道,尚普兰学院网络安全(最近被公认为排在全国同类专业前列)等专业的学生“现在十分抢手,很多人在三年级、甚至更早的时候就已经被雇用”。

Champlain wants to be an economic engine for Vermont and tries to stay in front of the curve, especially on tech-driven career training.

尚普兰学院想要成为佛蒙特州的经济引擎,而且力争一直走在前列,在技术推动型职业培训领域尤为如此。

Finney explained one of the ways the college does that: "Most of our programs have affiliated advisory boards with people from Vermont businesses. We ask these people 'what are you going to need?' Not 'what do you need now,' but 'what are you going to need in the future?' And we try to meet those needs. So people in companies here have the sense that Champlain is their partner. And we're very future-oriented."

关于该学院是如何做到这一点的,芬尼给出了其中的一种方法,“我们大多数项目的顾问委员会成员都是佛蒙特州的企业家。我们会向这些人征询,‘你们会有什么需求?’不是‘你们现在有什么需求’,而是‘你们将来会有什么需求?’然后我们会尽力去满足这些需求。所以公司中的人员会觉得尚普兰学院就是他们的合作伙伴。我们是着眼未来的。”

Little wonder, then, that Champlain has become, as one reporter put it, "a training ground for Vermont software development firms and other high-tech employers".

这就难怪尚普兰学院像一位记者所说的那样,已经成了“佛蒙特州软件开发公司和其他高科技公司雇主的培训基地”。

Internally, the college seems healthy, too. There’s palpable energy and enthusiasm on this campus. You might expect the faculty to be angry or resentful about the no-tenure policy. They're not. Several people, including Finney, told me the absence of tenure "has never been an issue," a claim the Faculty Senate's President, Laurel Bongiorno, affirms. Faculty members work under individual, multi-year contracts - a good arrangement most American workers would love to have.

尚普兰学院的内部运作好像也很不错。在校园里到处都能感觉到活力与热情。你可能会觉得,教师们对于取消终身职位的政策深表愤怒和不满。可是他们没有。很多人,其中也包括芬尼,都和我说过,取消终身职位这件事“从来都算不上是什么问题”。而教师评议会主席劳雷尔·邦焦尔诺也证实了这一点。教师与校方签订的是个人长期合同,大多数美国员工还巴不得签这样的合同呢。

As I walked around campus, talking with students, I was struck by a common theme: many spoke of Champlain's congeniality, its spirit of collaborative learning, and the absence of barriers separating students from faculty. Addressing that theme, Finney told me, "Yes, our DNA is very unusual. The vast majority of our faculty prefer that students address them by their first name. People see themselves as part of learning teams. It’s an intensely personal place."

我漫步校园,与学生们交谈时,让我深有感触的是,他们都会提到一个共同的话题:很多人会说起尚普兰学院宜人的氛围,说起学校协作学习的精神以及师生的亲密无间。提起这一点,芬尼对我说,“的确,我们有非同寻常的‘基因’”。大部分老师喜欢学生对他们直呼其名。大家都将自己看做是学习团队中的一员,这是一个极具人性化的地方。”

I got one small indicator of Champlain's specialness when visiting in mid-September. I went into the beautiful library on consecutive afternoons, a Thursday and Friday. If you're familiar with contemporary college life, you know that on many campuses, students typically treat these like weekend days. Not at Champlain. I was astonished (and I don't use that word lightly here) to see nearly every seat filled, students working. When I told Finney about this, he chuckled knowingly. "I've noticed the same thing. Encouraging, isn't it?"

我在9月中旬参观尚普兰学院时,得以对其独特之处窥见一斑。周四和周五连续两个下午,我到漂亮的图书馆去看了看。如果你对当代大学生活有所了解的话,就会知道,在很多校园里,学生们一般都会把周四和周五当成周末来过。但在尚普兰学院情况就不是这样。图书馆里几乎座无虚席,学生们都在用功读书,这一幕让我觉得很震惊(此处我可不是随便用“震惊”这个词的)。当我把这一情况告诉芬尼时,他会意地笑了。“我也注意到了同样的情况,很鼓舞人心,对吧?”

Finney's right about Champlain's unusual DNA. American higher education would be better off if more colleges tried to replicate what's going on here.

关于尚普兰学院不同寻常的“基因”,芬尼算是说对了。如果更多的院校试着效仿一下尚普兰学院的做法,那美国的高等教育就有指望了。

(赵云龙 译注自The Atlantic Oct.21, 2013)

(责编:shuzi)

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