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observations



Letters To cut costs; cut sabbaticals, learning and citizenship, thoughts matter
CTMoment Better late than never
Observation Germany's turn to give back
President's Perspective Essential relationships





Letters

To cut costs, cut sabbaticals
I commend
President Glotzbach and Skidmore for dedicating so much of the fall issue of Scope to discuss, as Prof. Sandy Baum puts it, “Is it worth it?”

Students are not going to stop going to college; they might just stop going to private colleges like Skidmore. Of course the very rich will have no trouble going to Skidmore, and the very poor will always get aid—but the middle and even upper-middle class won’t be able to go to such colleges.

There is no doubt that a liberal arts education at a school like Skidmore is an amazing experience, and most likely graduates will see a financial payback. But that payback is not guaranteed, and even if the school gave a 50 percent aid package and the parents paid half the remaining bill, a 22-year-old would walk out the door with a $50,000 loan to pay. I met a very nice recent graduate who personally owed $100,000.

Right now Skidmore could lower its costs by eliminating paid sabbaticals and making the professors teach more courses. Of course the faculty won’t want to do that, and since President Glotzbach must spend all day with his peers, I suspect the obvious solution won’t get done.

Jonathan Burkan ’93
New York City



Learning and citizenship
I read
[in the spring 2009 Scope] of Skidmore’s Responsible Citizenship Task Force report that “a liberal education broadly prepares students for citizenship” by teaching them how to examine problems, find causes, and synthesize solutions. I began to think of what it means to have an education, and how it relates to my life. Was it useful?

Becoming aware of the world we live in, and of how to live in it, have been very important. How would I know about art, music, and literature without learning of history and the people who made it possible? What I learned as an art major at Skidmore has been part of my being an artist and a patron of the arts. Along with participating in my community, I feel privileged to be among others who have similar educations.

I began to think also of the underprivileged people in America who are not able to get an education. It becomes a class distinction, and it limits the ability to move up the economic ladder for those who don’t have the language or skills to be fully assimilated as citizens.

My life has been filled with art and music, with travel to many places, with family and friends. Now that I am older, I hope I have passed on to my children, who will become citizens of a global world, all that I have enjoyed.

Susan Rabinowitz Malloy ’45
Westport, Conn.



Thoughts matter
“Creative thought matters”?
Surprise, y’all: Every thought matters. One of wise King Solomon’s proverbs says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Thoughts are pictures of a person’s character, because sooner or later the thoughts are transferred into action. Here is the big question: Are these thoughts right or wrong? For me, the Bible’s principles show me the right road.

Peggy Jouard Gibson ’41
Greensboro, N.C.


Do the write thing
Scope welcomes letter to the editor. Send your comments by e-mail to srosenbe@skidmore.edu or mail c/o Skidmore College. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.