Jerry Pattengale is a prolific author and national speaker; recipient of the National Student Advocate Award (USC); and the Director of the Green Scholars Initiative, Senior Fellow at the Sagamore Institute, Distinguished Fellow at Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion, Director of National Conversations, and Assistant Provost at Indiana Wesleyan University. This article is adapted from a version for his “Accidental Author” series for Paxton Media, Chronicle Tribune (May 18, 2011). Used here with permission.
Some faces beg for an explanation. Some, like my younger brother’s, just seem to yell “slap me” during our teen years. Some faces, like my 99-year-old great grandma Kaufman’s, are mysteriously historic. Grand Canyon crevices, leathery feel, random bumps and hairs, and as bold as Alexander the Great’s Bucephalus. Some, like Pat Boone’s, seem pleasantly plastic and genuinely happy. Some, like Jennifer Lopez’s, are porcelain perfect. And others, like Ronald Reagan’s or JFK’s, confident beyond comparison. Read more
Originally published in Books & Culture (http://www.ctlibrary.com/bc/2011/sepoct/nextbigtest.html)
Dr. Edwin Yamauchi knows 26 languages!" The host of the massive retirement party at Miami University continued, "We counted. We actually went through his piles of publications and counted." While working as Yamauchi's graduate assistant, I observed as he learned Russian for researching the Scythians (for his Foes from the Northern Frontier). He switched from first-year to third-year level courses over Christmas break and earned A's in both.
As Yamauchi's doctoral students, we had a rare firsthand view of his indefatigable nature—and of his similar expectations of us. Try studying Sahidic Coptic, Classical Greek, and German simultaneously. Add two seminar classes with dozens of required books. Next add grading duties. The workload beneath Yamauchi was so stringent that "social life" became oxymoronish. Near my breaking point, I asked Professor Jack Temple Kirby how I could possibly continue. While swirling his Zinfandel, he said with his southern charm, "Jerry, you'll learn to read a book a night whether you can or cannot." Read more
Originally published in The Cresset (http://thecresset.org/2009/Advent-Christmas/pattengale_A09.html)
“WHO IS MARK NOLL?” WAS AN AWKWARD question coming from an academic administrator, accented by his dazed look when I mentioned Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. I left that Christian campus with mixed feelings, appreciative of meeting goodhearted professors but pricked deeply by that conversation—his obvious unawareness of a leading Christian thinker.
I have found myself in his role, such as sharing the speaking platform with Martin Bernal before reading his Black Athena. Even more uncomfortable was sitting in England’s famous “pump room” at Bath prior to reading Northanger Abbey while being surrounded by Jane Austin veterans—my students. Read more.
Originally an address to Sagamore Interns (http://www.sagamoreinstitute.org/article/the-genius-factor/)
Working in the shadow of geniuses is the optimum experience for internships, one that trumps an organization’s profile or personal prestige. Such an arrangement is an awesome privilege, but with an awesome privilege comes an awesome responsibility.
Genius is traditionally defined as having an IQ of at least 175, but this falls woefully short of capturing its complexity and various manifestations. Malcolm Gladwell reminds us in Outliers that premier performers need to be “smart enough,” and beyond that other factors seem to take precedence, such as logging 10,000 hours on-task. In essence, he’s saying that not all of those we call “genius” have extremely high IQ intelligence, and many with such natural intelligence have failed to hone their skills for optimum benefit or have lived lives of little consequence. Read more.
Originally published at Inside Higher Ed (http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2010/01/19/pattengale)
"Students today are so industrious!" My colleague blurted this after learning students had replaced labels on their water bottles with exact replicas — but with the test answers typed in the ingredients section.
However, another colleague disagreed with any positive attribute for today’s students. She recently summoned a failing Comp 101 student to inquire about his surprisingly excellent final paper. After he repeatedly claimed to have written "every word," she replied, "Then I have just one final question. Young man, exactly when did you have your abortion?" She concluded, "Students today are lazy. For 40 years I’ve caught students copying papers — but at least they had read them first!" Read more.