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The Efficacy of Inefficiency in Education
SHERMAN, TEXAS-Educator Victoria Mora of St. John's College will speak at Austin College on September 18 at 4:30 p.m. in Wright Campus Center, Room 231, presenting "The Efficacy of Inefficiency in Education: A Modest Proposal, Inspired by Michel de Montaigne." The lecture, sponsored by Austin College's Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching, is free and open to the public. A 4 p.m. reception in Johnson Gallery will precede the presentation.
"Part of the impact of the Great Recession has been increased public scrutiny of higher education," Mora said. "One thread in this increased scrutiny has been an unexamined assumption that higher education can be, maybe even should be, understood in wholly economic terms-especially the terms of efficiency and production. My talk calls for reflection on the value of what I am calling, perhaps only half-ironically, an inefficient education."
"I develop my points for reflection by referencing two essays by Michel de Montaigne, "Of the Education of Children" and "Of Pedantry," Mora explained. "In the end, I suggest that an inefficient education may be the most economically efficacious education of all-provided that 'inefficiency' is focused on cultivating learners who are willing and able to execute their own judgment in the world. What this means for our current public discourse regarding higher education, and for higher education itself, is something I hope to discuss in the question period following my talk."
Mora, vice president for advancement at St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has served as a member of the faculty (called tutors at St. John's) since 1992. She served as dean from 2006 to 2011, and recently was named vice president.
Completing her undergraduate degree in English and philosophy at the University of New Mexico, Mora earned master's degrees in philosophy at Yale University, where she was a teaching fellow. She also was named Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow and earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at Yale in 1992.
Austin College's Robert and Joyce Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching, is directed by Bernice Melvin, Margaret Root Brown Chair of Foreign Languages and Literatures and professor of French. Within the mission of the center is the encouragement of 'bold exploration of intellectual frontiers" and "fostering lively intellectual dialogue within and across academic disciplines."
The Johnson Center schedules a number of events throughout the year, with presentations by Austin College faculty and guest lecturers.
Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope's influential book Colleges That Change Lives.
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