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MY

PHILOSOPHY OF HIGHER EDUCATION 1


My Philosophy of Higher Education

Trent R. Green

Indiana Wesleyan University

Format: APA
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Abstract

Reflecting on my time here at Indiana Wesleyan University I would have to say I have a

combination of two philosophies. One philosophy focuses on higher education as a system for

psychological development and counseling, and the other philosophy focuses on higher

education as a system for the purpose of educating. These are the Student Development Model

and the Student Learning Model.

The Student Development Model places higher education in the light of developing

students minds psychologically and focuses on mental health. It can be seen in areas based on

the psychological welfare of students and is evident in areas such as counseling, tutoring, and

other forms of student success (i.e. specialized tests). These developmental programs allow

students to figure out whom they are in order to move through emotional or traumatizing

situations.

The Student Learning Model puts higher education in the light of education. Being at a

university, education needs to be key. Students and parents are paying a lot of money for an

education and the university should be expected to deliver. Education is a developmental model

that allows students to dig deeper into the world around them to find knowledge and information

that can help them in the future or even explains why things are the way they are. Education

prepares students for what they may face in the future.

Combining the two philosophies and developmental models we can allow students to be

educated in areas of their own mental welfare. Being educated on why one feels or thinks a

certain way allows him or her to get in touch with who they are in the grand scheme of life. Once

he or she figures out bits and pieces of themselves, they are able to tear down mental barriers to

open doors to more knowledge, and the ability to help those around them.
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Further Explanation and Stories

Student Development Model

I became passionate about the Student Development Model just recently. I was hired on

as the Community Coordinator of the Lodges for my senior year here at Indiana Wesleyan

University. I was so excited to train with my staff members and get to know each of them on a

deeper level. I moved into my lodge, got comfortable, and was finally building relationships with

members on my staff. We won competitions together, laughed together, and even cried together.

I was able to be so vulnerable and transparent with them in a way that was unfamiliar for me. It

was so amazing. I told them my testimony. How I struggled with body image, depression, and

identity confusion. When I saw shame in my testimony, they saw strength. They pointed out all

that God had done for me and how strong I was to get through.

We only had two weeks of training together before the rest of the IWU student body

arrived. Two weeks was all we needed to become a close team. We loved each other and knew

we could rely on each other. A few weeks into the school year, I lost my best friend to a car

accident. We were not as close as were when we went to high school together, but we had the

type of friendship that would always be there. I knew if I needed anything he would be the first

to be there. Death is a weird and mysterious thing. It can be expected or totally knock you off

your seat in shock. For Vinny, it was the latter. He rode his bike every single day. Why was this

time different? No matter how hard I searched for the answer, I could not find it. Vinny was gone

and I had to accept it.

Now, Indiana Wesleyan University has a policy about drinking alcohol. We, as students

at IWU, are not to consume or be in the presence of alcohol while in session. For me, it was an

even stricter policy because I was on leadership as the Community Coordinator. However, I
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drank wine, and lost my position, and I lost my team. When I was caught, I lied to my Resident

Director because I was scared of losing my job. However, shortly after (like seconds after) I

realized the huge mistake I had made. She and I walked to my room and talked with my

roommate. We gave her the empty bottles of wine, and I was told that we would discuss the

consequences with student conduct the next day. I was at a loss. As we met with student conduct,

tears were shed and I accepted my consequence of being released from my position as

Community Coordinator of the Lodges. I lost so much in such a small amount of time. I lost my

job, I lost my team, and I lost my best friend. Due to constant questioning of Why did you do

it? I decided to sign up for counseling.

Counseling is an amazing piece of art and allows you to dig into deeper parts of yourself

that you had covered up in the past or that you did not even know it was there. It helps you

discover why you are you. When I met with my counselor for our first meeting, I dropped my

whole life story on her. Nothing was guarded, held back, or even censored. I wanted help, and I

needed answers. When I got to the spot of losing my position of Community Coordinator, she

stopped me. She asked why I did not express feelings of anger or bitterness. I told her it was

because I understood that I broke the rules and needed to be taken out of my position as

consequence. However, she allowed me to realize things within me that I felt deserved to be

expressed. I had never experience grief to this extent before. Losing my best friend was new to

me. Besides Vinny, the closest person that I had experienced death with was my grandpa when I

was really young. Through counseling I discovered that I do not know how to handle big

emotions such as grief or anger. I drank wine to refocus and stay focused on schoolwork rather

than the death of my friend. I did not know what to do with those emotions or how to express

them. My counselor was worried about me for a while because of my history with depression
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and attempted suicides. Losing two huge things in my life could have caused me to go into a

deep depression, and she expected that of me. It became true, but not to the extent that it was

before. My counselor allowed me to realize my feelings and emotions are warranted, and she

helped me work through my issues.

Indiana Wesleyan University did nothing wrong in firing me from my position as

Community Coordinator. However, I did not feel as though everything was brought to the table.

My life went from losing Vinny and everyone comforting me, to losing my job and feeling

disconnected and alone. When I put this story of mine in light of my philosophy of the Student

Development Model, I realize the importance and strength that comes with counseling. I

recommend counseling to everyone even when you think you do not need it. It allows you to

break down those walls that keep you from meeting your full potential.

Student Learning Model

Education has always been an interesting idea for me. When I was younger, I would

babysit my little cousins and put them through school. I would teach them about the important

issues like the Bible and dogs. Throughout high school, I would sit in my classes analyzing the

teaching styles of my teachers. I would think to myself, I would teach it this way or Why did

he/she put it like that? I thoroughly enjoyed learning and thought highly of the blessing that is

an education.

Going into college, I decided to major in Biology pre-vet. I was going through the classes

not know exactly what I was learning, but trying to learn it anyway. I realized something was not

right, and I felt out of place. So I changed my major to Biology Education. I started to excel on

the education side, but still received mediocre grades on the science side. However, my mind
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thought it was the education that was pulling me down. So I dropped education and accepted

Biology as my major.

Eventually my mind caught up with reality and I realized that my brain just does not

work with science and math. I wanted to teach, but I did not know what I wanted to teach. I

wanted to be with people and help them learn and gain knowledge, but I did not know how to get

there. I discovered the major of Communication and decided to give it a twirl. I struck gold with

this major. It came naturally to me and everything made sense. I wanted to learn more and get

more involved in the field.

However, I continued to hunger for education and tried to figure out ways I could teach

and still use my skills in communication. I accepted the fact that I most likely would not be able

to teach Communication in a high school unless I taught Speech, but that would be it. So I gave

up on the teaching passion and pursued my passion of working with people. Which lead me to

Student Development. After talking with my cousin whom is a Professor of Law at the Ohio

State University, I realized the obvious formula of meeting both of my passions of education and

people. Teaching at a collegiate level. Communication is a widely known major in most colleges

and universities, so teaching it would actually be possible.

Education is such a powerful tool. Yes, we are able to develop street smarts just from

being normal human beings and working our way through life, but education allows us to dig

deeper and answer the why and how questions of life.

While taking my education courses here at Indiana Wesleyan University, I was deeply

influenced by the blessing and absolute honor we have to be able to have an education. Children

in Africa, and other third world countries, have such a strong desire for education, but most of

the time do not receive it due to lack of education and money, or resources.
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We have such a blessing here in the United States of America. We have opportunities for

education all around us. I believe we have all become too accepting of education and have

therefor become numb to the blessing that it is in our lives. We must educate for the blessing and

opportunity that it is. We must stop the younger generations from saying things like, I hate

school and I do not want to go to school. Let us make education addictive.


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Statement of Faith

I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I believe they are

three in one, and one in three. I believe God created the earth and all that is in it, and sent His son

to carry the sins of the world in the hopes that we would desire a relationship with him in

eternity. I believe He sent the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us in the way we should go, once

we have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives. I believe Christ will come back again,

and take to heaven all those who belong to the Kingdom of God, and those left behind will go

through tribulations of Gods wrath.

My core values in life are Faith, Family, and People. God is so important to me. I would

not be who I am today without His impact on my life. When I look at my testimony, I truly see

His hand guiding me, and His voice directing and comforting me. He is all that I am, and I want

to continue to pursue the Trent Green that He has created me to be. Secondly, I value my family

so much. They have pushed me and taught me in ways that I could never repay them for. They

do this out of love. The life decisions I chose to make shook the grounds of my relationship with

them, but they grabbed onto me and got down on their knees in prayer. These actions by my

family caused me to turn my past life story into a testimony of Gods glory. Lastly, people are

valuable to me. I believe God has created each person individually and uniquely. Every person

has a story, and every person has a purpose. If God allows me to assist people in finding their

God given purpose, or be able to journey with them through their lives and stories, I will be truly

blessed. These values, I hope to continue to feed into and grow stronger and deeper in. They

make me who I am, and God has placed each value on my heart for a reason. It is my job to use

my passions and pursuits for His glory, and to use his purpose in my life in every aspect of my

life.