By Ryan Rose
October 18, 2012
I recently overheard a fellow Lock Haven University student complain about the college. It’s a common occurrence, so I was not surprised, but what did pique my attention was that he compared it to Penn State.
Now, what is stopping this student from transferring at any moment? If nothing, then his complaining can only be seen as an opportunity for him to hear his own voice.
I think it’s worthwhile to look at the real differences between LHUP and larger universities from the perspective of someone who has experienced both.
To provide you with a little background, three years ago I transferred to Lock Haven from The City University of New York (CUNY), Brooklyn College, a school lovingly referred to as “the poor man’s Harvard.” My yearly tuition cost was in the neighborhood of $10,000 (this is only the cost of attending classes—there were no dorms). To my recollection, all but one of my professors at CUNY were graduates of Ivy League schools. Most of these professors were very successful; they had degrees from Harvard or Yale. Many of them immediately got a teaching position at Brooklyn after graduating. These were professors who had read the books, aced the tests, and were ready to pass down their knowledge to me.
Sounds great, right?
Herein lies the problem with large universities with global reputations and clout: often, their professors are people who worked very hard to become professors and have done little else. This is not to dismiss their accomplishments or to denigrate them as teachers—most of them are helpful, insightful, and caring—but to point out a main difference between large universities and Lock Haven. And, perhaps, to remind everyone that the core competency of professors is not actually to educate, but to conduct research.
Of the professors I’ve gotten to know here at Lock Haven, the fair majority of them have had real life experiences in the field, often specific to their courses. These professors know the challenges involved when applying theories from books outside of an academic setting.
Anyone is capable of reading a text book and remembering its content, so what good is a professor whose only skill is recitation? Is one hour a day with a human audiobook really worth $10,000?
The money you pay to attend a school like Lock Haven goes toward being taught a skill by someone who has done it rather than researched it.