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Road to sucess is paved at CSU

BY JAMES O'MALLEY

Oct. 14, 2010

When President Ronald M. Berkman made his second State of the University address to the CSU community, he spoke of what defines a modern university.

After giving a brief description of the history of universities and John Henry Newman’s definition of what an ideal university is -- “a dedication to the pursuit of knowledge for it’s own sake” -- Berkman went on to propose his own definition for what a modern university should be: a place for doing worthwhile things.

“Few universities are better prepared to do worthwhile things than Cleveland State. And this preparation refers to the readiness of our faculty, our students and to our institutional history and role in greater Cleveland,” said Berkman. It is this belief that he plans to impart on the team of evaluators from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities, who are visiting this week to review CSU’s accreditation.

Berkman also drew heavily from William Deresiewicz, a Yale alumni, who, in the American Scholar, recently criticized the notion that top-tier universities are better suited to educate students that may go on to contribute to the ‘knowledge economy’ that the country needs to move forward and stay competitive.

“[It is] one of the great errors of an elite education,” wrote Deresiewicz. In his article, Deresiewicz said that while there are due dates at prestigious universities, such as Yale, they are never enforced or taken seriously the way they are at CSU. It is because of this, Deresiewicz argues, that CSU is a better example of a modern university. It is a place where people are held responsible for their own work and cannot rely on the help of others to get a grade they do not deserve.

This sentiment rings true in the hallways of CSU, where students eagerly gather to discuss the topics they just learned in class. Take, for example, the fact that CSU leads the way in engineering, nursing and law in northeast Ohio, while being comprised of mostly long-time Cleveland residents.

There was a time when college was a priviledge reserved only for the rich and the lucky. There was a time when a high school graduate could count on a $50,000 a year job waiting for them. In other words, an opportunity to start a family and give their children better opportunities than they themselves were afforded.
That time is over. It is now time for those with a drive and a vision to work hard and create their own opportunities. It is this quality that is seen daily in the classrooms at CSU.

Now, more than ever, the American Dream shines brightly in the hearts and minds of today’s youth, and while the road to success may not be as straightforward as it used to be, the potential for improvement and growth are greater than ever.
We can be proud to attend a university where we have a president who recognizes this and is working hard to produce the results we need.