What College Should Be – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

What College Should Be

Incoming president of Shimmer College and longtime Professor of Religious Studies Susan Henking had a letter to the editor published in the New York Times on July 1. Henking’s letter is titled “What College Should Be,” and is in reference to Andrew Delbanco’s book “College.”

In the book, Delbanco explains the idea of college and what it is going to take to protect academic institutions to be available for future generations, as a college education is heading toward becoming a luxury reserved for the rich.

In the letter, Henking, now the president of Shimer College, refers to the book as “a breath of fresh air.” Henking served on the HWS faculty from 1988 until the spring 2012.

Also at HWS, Henking served as an adviser to the Board of Trustees Futures Thinking and Strategic Planning Initiative within the Office of the President. During her tenure, she twice chaired the religious studies department, has co-chaired the interdisciplinary Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Studies program, and played a leadership role in the success of the HWS Women’s Studies program.


New York Times

What College Should Be

To the Editor:

The vision for higher education espoused in Andrew Delbanco’s book “College” and echoed in Michael S. Roth’s review (June 10), is like a breath of fresh air. We know we used to have it, we know we need it, and we too rarely find it.

Taking the historical long view, Delbanco avoids both the usual panic and quick fixes common in this climate of crisis around higher education, and instead calmly reminds us what the college experience in America has traditionally been for: the development of students as ethically responsible individuals.

It is not just the elite schools, as trendsetters, that should shoulder the responsibility of restoring this vision. As the new president of Shimer College, I call for an alliance of college presidents to resolve to hold tuition down and create truly heterogeneous learning environments toward a renewed democratic ideal of education.