Tuesday, November 7th, 2017...2:11 amstruzena

Impact of Dickinson’s Education

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The paper I found the most interesting was Esther’s survey regarding her experience at Dickinson. Her survey reflected a positive experience academically and showed how she still felt connected to the college. I truly believe her experience with the academic aspect of Dickinson was transformative, as it still is today. After reading her survey, I would like to find out more information about her social experience at Dickinson. While academics are primary, social experiences in college are also transformative. I feel like this class was so eerily timed with our campus’s current social climate. Exclusion is not new to Dickinson and still continues today, as we could see from the photograph from Halloween. A survey that somewhat resembles the one that Esther received was sent out to the student body shortly after the publicization of the Halloween picture. The survey asked questions regarding both academic and social experience and the questions seemed to somewhat aligned with those of the old survey from the 1950s. Esther Popel Shaw was a pioneer for Dickinson as the first known African American woman to graduate and I find her experience utterly intriguing. She was an advocate for race relations and helped to institutionalize African American studies later in her career, which shows the impact that education had on her experience and thus the shaping of her life.


  • I totally agree – social experience is a huge component of college, perhaps one of the largest factors of how contemporary students deem whether an academic environment/social space is right for them. For Esther, it seems like she was really involved at Dickinson as an advocate and activist. I wonder, given the limited information we have about her, how easily this information is to come by? How can you find out about social interactions/social experiences in writing (perhaps letters, diary entries, etc.)?

  • Sadly, it seems that Dickinson has not changed much over the years. The exclusivity of the caf for example is the most visible example on our campus that I can see. It saddens me because social experiences are viewed as equally important to academic experiences for many students. Dickinson is a place where we not only study, but we live. A student’s happiness at Dickinson is so dependent upon the social climate here.

  •   Professor Seiler
    November 14th, 2017 at 1:22 am

    Leah–I encourage you to pursue this and like research! To you and Emma, I would ask how you both think about your own experience here, and your responsibility for social change on campus. Nice job.

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