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Voices / Letters from readers

Joining a traditional college with an alternative one can yield fruitful educational results

The writer taught at Marlboro College for two years.

RE: “Eulogy for the college on the hill” [Viewpoint, Jul. 31]:

In a July 31 news article [“University of Bridgeport primed to absorb Marlboro College’s campus, programs”] and a Viewpoint [“Eulogy for the college on the hill”], many people associated with Marlboro College view its merger with the University of Bridgeport with considerable trepidation, fearing that the essence of Marlboro will be lost, and eventually disappear, in a much larger entity.

This does not have to be so.

I once taught in a similar setting, an alternative college that was a part of a larger university — Grand Valley State University, in Michigan — which included a traditionally-structured College of Arts and Sciences and a very traditionally-structured College of Business.

The alternative college eventually closed, which I know doesn’t help my argument, but throughout its existence, the college never was lost and never disappeared. The structure and philosophy of the college were maintained throughout, and in fact, the college was a valuable part of the university.

Students in Arts and Sciences took our classes; we sent students to that college who wanted more depth in a subject than we could provide.

The joining of a traditional entity with a decidedly alternative one can be fruitful. Both sides can benefit. Students in the alternative college can gain from the rigor and expanded offerings of the university; university students can have their horizons expanded by the ideas and challenges of the alternative college.

And in the process, one of my fond hopes may be realized: that STEM comes to mean “science, technology, ethics, and morality.”

John S. Warren
East Dummerston

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Originally published in The Commons issue #522 (Wednesday, August 7, 2019). This story appeared on page E3.

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