Wednesday, February 27, 2008

And I'm still on the Vicodin, so this may not be all that cogent

So. This past Tuesday, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges announced that it was terminating New College of California's accreditation. As most (if not all) of you are aware, New College is where I earned both my masters degrees, where I finished my bachelors, and where I taught as an adjunct from the fall trimester 2006 to fall 2007.

I'm not entirely sure how to feel about this. No, wait, scratch that; I have plenty of feelings on the subject -- they just don't sort out well.

A big part of me is just crushingy embarrassed. In this thoroughly modern age, when we all get our news of the internets and it's just as easy for people to make their opinions known in the comments section of the San Francisco Chronicle as it is on this lovely little blog o' mine, I can't help but be aware of how stupid we all look. And I can see how tempting a target it is: the hubris of it all! The stupid, willfully wide-eyed optimism of running a school as if ideals were all that mattered! As if all you needed were a building and a bunch of good intentions.

But the truth of the matter is, the ideals weren't what did the place in. Neither were the smart, starry-eyed utopians who were fool enough to learn and teach there over the years. It was just poorly run, poorly overseen, and didn't have the time or money to right itself before the end came.

One of the things I keep coming back to, though, is how happy I am with the education I got there. New College was the third school I attended full-time (the fifth I attended for any time at all), and, with its strong social justice angle, was the perfect top-off to my more previously literature-and-tweed-heavy academic career. I really did learn a lot there, as both a student and a teacher. And isn't that the true worth of my degrees? The effect upon my noggin?

Still, though, it's sad, and shaming, and just... yeah. Sad.

In other but not unrelated news, I ran an errand recently for an old poetry prof of mine (also recently cast adrift by New College). He gave me this poem as a thank-you.

Just in case you can't read it:

After Wang Wei

Chilling down by the water
stopped to watch clouds drift
clouds drift clouds drift
bumped into mr. green
talked laughed forgot
it was time to go


momeester said...

What is Tom going to do???

Maybe maybe maybe we can have him and his wife to dinner when next I vist SF??!!??

What a wonderful poem. So sad and happy and evocative and well crafted. I smiled and teared up at the last line.

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