Lee Trepanier

Everyone Deserves an ‘A’
By Lee Trepanier on September 10, 2009

In a February article in The New York Times, “Student Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes,” and in a subsequent commentary blog by Michelle Cottle of The New Republic, “An A for Effort? Talk About a Lousy Idea,” we see on display a culture of entitlement at universities, where students believed they deserve a high mark for their efforts and not for their results.


The Renewal of Culture and Education in Josef Pieper’s Thought – Part IV
By Lee Trepanier on August 31, 2009

Part of the impetus to institutionalize education is that we are heirs to a long and deep intellectual tradition. We are often rightly proud of this tradition, even when there are aspects of it that we are opposed to, but we must learn it anew in the form of a tradition handed down to us. Unlike other animals, with their instinctual knowledge, we humans must learn from the beginning. This tradition therefore has to be classified and organized to make the learning of it more effective and efficient. Although this is required for learning, it can also lead to a fossilization of our knowledge where we can know a tradition but not truly learn it.


The Renewal of Culture and Education in Josef Pieper’s Thought – Part III
By Lee Trepanier on August 24, 2009

If the political demands of the state are as old as classical antiquity, then the lure of the marketplace is as new as mass education. Although servile education has always existed as a competitor to its liberal counterpart since time immemorial, it has acquired a novel form that makes it more insidious and dangerous. As universities have expanded into small city-states to meet the demands of the marketplace and politics, the conditions for liberal learning have often been lost.


The Renewal of Culture and Education in Josef Pieper’s Thought – Part II
By Lee Trepanier on August 17, 2009

The aim of liberal education is to transform the mind and character of the student so he or she will become a different type of individual—one who, by referencing various disciplines, is capable of discovering insights into complex issues and exercising prudential judgment as a person and as a citizen. However, a liberal education is not enough to transform the entire person, as Pieper recognizes. Education by itself cannot be the means for moral improvement; rather, culture, of which education is a part, is the mode to improve our character.


The Renewal of Culture and Education in Josef Pieper’s Thought – Part I
By Lee Trepanier on August 11, 2009

Josef Pieper believes that the cult, as the ritual of public sacrifice, is the primary source of our independence and freedom, with leisure, as the basis of culture, defined as our fundamental relationship to reality as a type of philosophical act, where we learn to see how worthy certain aspects of reality are and therefore require a celebration of them in divine worship. This philosophical act is to participate in reality as it unveils itself to us and is characterized by enthusiasm and freedom. The reason why philosophy is regarded as the most free of the liberal arts is because it is the farthest removed from utilitarian concerns.


Education is Not a Business
By Lee Trepanier on August 04, 2009

In an article in the February Inside Higher Ed called “The Business Model is the Wrong Model,” Peter Katopes argues that the market place model of customer satisfaction and efficiency has created a culture of entitlement, instant gratification, and institutional fiscal irresponsibility.


The Study of Law as True Substantive Order – Part 1 of 5
By Lee Trepanier on July 28, 2009

When students learn the law today, they are taught more likely than not from the perspective of legal positivism. This school of thought asserts three principles: 1) the social fact thesis, 2) the conventionality thesis, and 3) the separability thesis. The first claims that legal validity is a function of certain kinds of social facts; the second emphasizes the law’s conventional nature; and the third denies any connection between law and morality. These assumptions are usually not explicitly stated in the classroom but are implied when students read about constitutional cases, examine legal ethical dilemmas, or explore the philosophical underpinnings of the law itself.


If Music be the Food for All – Part II
By Lee Trepanier on March 03, 2009

As had been discussed earlier, the pedagogy of music in the United States suffers from the same problem as other subjects: the absence of national standards. Unlike Great Britain or Canada, where national standards are established according to grade and ability, the United States has a plethora of standards for music as reflective of its diverse educational system. Recently, educators this country have been adapting national standards for music (based on the Canadian model), but progress has been slow and entirely voluntarily.


Liberal Education: Personal Growth and Participation in a Free Democracy?
By Lee Trepanier on February 25, 2009

In Patricia Cohen's February 24, 2009 New York Times article, "In Tough Times, the Humanities Must Justify Their Worth," the defense of liberal education is explored during the economic recession. It also quotes from John von Heyking's friend, Anthony T. Kronman. The article's link is http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/25/books/25human.html?ref=books


Fishing for Fame and Fortune
By Lee Trepanier on February 22, 2009

Here's an article about Stanley's Fish approach of fame and fortune to contemporary academia: James Matthew Wilson's "The Treasonous Clerk: Stanley Fish and the Lasting Professoriate." It appeared on February 20, 2009 on the First Principles website at http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=1219&theme…


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about the author

Lee Trepanier
Lee Trepanier

I am an Associate Professor of Political Science at Saginaw Valley State University. I teach courses in political philosophy as well as the Introduction to Political Science course. I received my B.A. in Political Science and English Literature with a Minor in Russian Studies at Marquette University and my M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science at Louisiana State University. My research interests are in Russian politics; politics and religion; politics, literature, and film; and political philosophy with a focus on the works of Eric Voegelin.