Allegations of cheating and bribery in connection with college admissions have brought renewed scrutiny to just how that process works. In this episode of the KUT podcast "Higher Ed," KUT's Jennifer Stayton talks with Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger to get his response to the story and his take on maintaining integrity in the process.
Ed says the accusations made in connection with alleged cheating at some universities in the United States raise several concerns for him.
"First, there's just an ethical question," says Ed, "about boy, what are we teaching young people today about doing the right thing and living good lives?"
Ed says secondly, the situation sends a disturbing message about using shortcuts to get ahead.
"There's an issue about the value of hard work," Ed adds, "and setting goals and realizing those goals when that's possible. And when it's not possible, to learn from that and realize other goals."
Ed also has a very visceral response to the allegations from the point of view of an educator.
"My emotional reaction is one of offense," says Ed. "It's because, how do these families who are accused of these things, of this behavior - how do they define what formal education means? By their alleged actions, they're defining formal education as a piece of paper."
Ed strongly believes what formal education delivers to students does not depend on the "name" of the school.
"Education should be an individualized experience," Ed says. "Even when you look at some of these generic rankings, they have certain metrics but they're not measuring for an individual human being. And that's why there are so many schools out there and that's why there are so many people at those variety of schools. It's important to pick the best fit."
Listen to the full episode for more on how students can discern that best fit. Also, the puzzler is back after an extended Spring Break. Who is our guest puzzle provider for the next few episodes? Listen on to find out!
This episode was recorded on April 2, 2019.
For all of the Higher Ed episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.