Staff Editorial: Outside class

Living and learning in Washington, D.C. is one of the GW’s most attractive qualities. New students arrive to find the their city, campus and dorms shrouded in history – a history telling tales of triumph, commemoration and struggle.

In order to better exploit the abundant supply of landmarks, museums and buildings in D.C. and across the nation, GW has created a position aimed to help teachers plan field trips to such important destinations. Donna Scarboro, the new assistant vice president for special academic programs, was formerly the director of summer and international programs at GW. Scarboro’s new position will give teachers the valuable option of showing their students’ out-of-the-classroom, real-world applications to their learning experience.

Scarboro’s new role does two things for the University – it frees teachers from the time-consuming side of planning a trip and validates outside learning as an important element of a university education. Under the new position, Scarboro can arrange for political science students to take a trip to Capitol Hill. Business majors can go to Wall Street, while those studying international affairs could witness diplomatic processions at the Olympics. The list of possibilities is endless and applies freely to all disciplines.

Paying for these trips is certainly an issue, but could be taken care of through something similar to a laboratory fee. Although the cost of some trips may be cause for concern, the cost of not taking advantage of them is too high. We all know the president and first lady share our neighborhood, yet too many students have never been to the White House. The same example can be easily applied anywhere else in the city, and for that matter, the country.

We applaud GW’s important first step toward integrating what we learn inside and outside the classroom. We urge the University to continue its initiative forcing students to think, see and feel beyond campus borders.

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