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Wrong Mark Edmundson?

Prof. Mark W. Edmundson

Professor of English

University of Virginia

Direct Phone: (434) ***-****       

Email: m***@***.edu

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University of Virginia

100 Darden Blvd.

Charlottesville, Virginia 22903

United States

Company Description

The University of Virginia will unveil its new world-class squash facility on Sept. 19, and the sport's elite ranks have begun lining up to offer their seals of approval. The $12.4 million McArthur Squash Center at the Boar's Head Sports Club opened its ... more

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Background Information


Guggenheim Fellow
Institute for Shipboard Education

Board Member
New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities


Higher Education


Bennington College



Yale University


University of Virginia

Web References (199 Total References)

New Metric for Colleges:  Graduates' Salaries - New York Times article, September 13, 2013 [cached]

"People are desperate to measure something, so they seize on the wrong things," Mark Edmundson, a professor of English at the University of Virginia (PayScale, 76), told me this week. "I'm not against people making a living or prospering. But if the objective of an education is to 'know yourself,' it's going to be hard to measure that."

Professor Edmundson is author of the recent book "Why Teach? In Defense of a Real Education," which argues that education should transform students by challenging and expanding their conceptions of themselves. "Self-realization doesn't just mean sitting around discussing Plato and Socrates," he said.
Professor Edmundson agreed that class distinctions were a red herring, and said that even vocational programs would benefit from courses in the humanities. "Everyone by virtue of being a human being should have a right to think about who they are and what might make them successful," he said.
And he challenged the idea that choosing a college or major based on a projected high salary was a sure path to security.

"I think that's conceding too quickly," ... [cached]

"I think that's conceding too quickly," said Mark Edmundson, an English professor at the University of Virginia.

FAQ - Academic Integrity Seminar [cached]

We're also influenced by the work of University of Virginia English Professor Mark Edmundson, author of Teacher: The One Who Made the Difference. Edmundson outlined his views in a 2003 New York Times article titled "How Teachers Can Stop Cheaters":

the PVC | Princeton Varsity Club | Page 5 [cached]

Jake McCandless '51 PVC Speaker Series presents: Mark Edmundson

Jake McCandless '51 PVC Speaker Series presents: Mark Edmundson - photos posted!
On Tuesday, December 11th, the PVC welcomed UVA professor Mark Edmundson to campus for the latest edition of the Jake McCandless '51 PVC Speaker Series. Edmundson discussed the potential positive and negative effects of sports on the character of athletes.
On Tuesday, December 11th, the PVC is proud to present University of Virginia Professor of English, Mark Edmundson, to campus. His presentation will examine the character building, and potentially character destroying, aspects of football and of sports in general. Mark Edmundson is a University Professor in the English Department at the University of Virginia. His lecture is titled "Terrible Beauty: Football in ... Read More >

First was Mark Edmundson's, ... [cached]

First was Mark Edmundson's, which acerbically described liberal education as "Lite entertainment for bored college students".

Edmundson is a professor of English at the University of Virginia, and his essay is written in the tone of a disgruntled traditionalist. Those are two positions that I should, technically, find it hard to relate to. And yet parts of the essay resonated. They resonated in the way they captured the promise of liberal education and its on-the-ground failure in too many classrooms at too many universities. But most importantly, the essay resonated in how it captured the individual responsibility of both students and professors to recapture what they believe a liberal education should be about.
Edmundson begins his essay with a picture that should be familiar:
"A college student getting a liberal arts education ponders filling out a questionnaire that includes an opportunity for him to evaluate his instructor. At times it appears that the purpose of his education is just to entertain him."
I do wonder whether it is a mistake to set up liberal education as depending so heavily on the image of the classroom. The classroom is but one component of a real education, yet frequently Edmundson seems to talk about them as if all education happened in the class. Regardless, he uses this image, and what it means for professors, to explain how education and consumer culture have moved closer and closer together. When a student praises Edmundson for "presenting this difficult, important & controversial material in an enjoyable and approachable way", he finds himself rejecting the complement.
Admissions departments have become marketing departments, Edmundson muses, and he thinks its no surprise that students expect the pleasant, fun view of the college they had from the brochures to continue while they're there.
Where it was sometimes strange to relate to Edmundson's disgruntled style and his position as a professor, I think his summing up places the burden squarely on every individual student and every professor for making their education what it should truly be about. And rightly so.
Categories Education, EssaysTags Bill Deresiewicz, college, Excellent Sheep, liberal arts, Mark Edmundson, universityLeave a comment on On The Uses Of A Liberal Education: As "Lite Entertainment for Bored College Students"

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