Fred Pestello in St. Louis Magazine

I'm a little late to this, but the October 2014 issue of St. Louis Magazine features an illuminating interview with the new president of Saint Louis University, Fred Pestello, Ph.D. It provides a nice overview of Dr. Pestello's approach to education and gives insight into how he views the place of Jesuit education in the modern world. One answer in particular -- in response to a question about the impact of technology on education -- resonated with me, given my context at a Jesuit high school:

Before, you had to go to the library; now, you just type in a search term. So it’s incumbent upon us to educate people in what is or is not an authoritative source. What is the quality of the information? How do you filter and synthesize information? I wonder whether—and I can’t present data on this—young people today lack the ability to really deeply struggle with a text, to put the energy forward to grapple with difficult material in a way that can lead to learning and deep satisfaction. Now, that’s maybe a stereotype, but when I was an undergraduate—I feel like a dinosaur!—we were assigned some very complex and not easily accessible material that required considerable struggle. I’m wondering whether that has been lost, and what is the cost.
 

The whole interview is well worth the read and another indication that, in selecting Dr. Pestello, SLU has made a good choice.  

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John Fitzgerald
4 years 2 months ago
I'm 66, have two grown sons and five grandchildren. I remember well learning the ins and outs of libraries. I also remember watching my sons learn do research online. In more recent years I've learned to research on line. The tools are different but the mindset of successful research remains the same. In the absence of data, I wonder why Dr. Pestello and so many other adults go so quickly to the question of whether today's youth are prepared for (pick your favorite topic). It seems to me to be an almost reflexive attitude of an older generation towards a younger generation. Are Jesuit and other Catholic high schools doing a poorer job than in previous generations? I suspect they are doing just fine. I participate in a study group at Holy Trinity in Georgetown. We're reading Saint Paul and one of Dan Harrington's books. Today's online technology has made associated research easier than in the sixties at BC.

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