Monday, July 16, 2012

Graduating College in 4 Years?

In response to an article in the Journal-Sentinel last week Wednesday...

UW System students under pressure to graduate in four years

...I wrote the following letter to the editor.  Thus far, it has not been published, so I share it here.

Dear Journal-Sentinel Editors,

As President of Catholic Memorial High School (CMH), I read with interest the recent article on the pressures for timely graduation in the UW System.  My interest is professional – one of the largest groupings of CMH graduates are those who go on to UW-Madison and the other UW schools; and personal – my own niece, a CMH alum, just graduated from Madison in May.

Both my niece and her boyfriend (a CMH grad) were able to graduate from Madison in just three years.  This fall she will start graduate work at Marquette to be a physician’s assistant, and he will begin studies at the UW Medical School. 

Young people from across Wisconsin have similar stories.  Any educator will tell you that successful elementary and secondary schools are integral to successful colleges and universities.  Furthermore, successful high schools do not just prepare students for graduation; they prepare them for success in college, and in life.  UW grads like my niece can tell you what aspects from their earlier education made them successful in college. 

From CMH it’s the International Baccalaureate program which affords many of our graduates the chance to earn up to forty or more college credits.  Its an interdisciplinary approach to academics and the expectations of Catholic service learning, which form students with expansive worldviews.  Its a character-building basis in faith, and rigorous expectations in extra-curriculars as well as the classroom, that prepares young men and women to take on the complex demands and the challenges of independence during college life.

For the UW system, or any institution of higher education, the challenge is not just about course offerings and class sizes.  It is also about calling on earlier education to be interdisciplinary, character-building and rigorous.  This will make the UW System, and its students, more and more successful.

Very Reverend Paul B. R. Hartmann
Catholic Memorial High School
Waukesha, WI



No comments: