Campus: CSU Stanislaus -- November 02, 2001
Moving "Ground Zero" Experience Inspires President Hughes' Call to "Educate the Heart"
"Education cannot ignore the early-morning wake-up
call of September 11. We must learn to educate the heart with the same
fervor that we have learned to educate the intellect."
- Dr. Marvalene Hughes, President of CSU Stanislaus
She came, she saw, she contemplated. As the thick dust from the ruins
of New York's World Trade Center was hosed off her escort's car, California
State University, Stanislaus President Marvalene Hughes determined what
she must do to continue the current outpouring of love, patriotism and
humanity following terrorist attacks on September 11.
The President's trip to New York in early October was precipitated by
an invitation extended by The New York Times to women presidents and chancellors
of state universities and colleges. As head of the delegation of 25 education
leaders, Dr. Hughes prepared her colleagues to discuss with the Times'
decision-makers the contributions of women leaders to the field of leadership,
particularly educational leadership.
While the discussion and visit with the Times was quite productive, the
President felt that her visit to New York remained unfinished in purpose.
She managed to gain special access to the area at "Ground Zero"
inaccessible to the public.
Realizing that only a privileged few can witness firsthand the mix of
desolation and heroism amid the rubble, the President kept a diary of
her observations, entitled "A Post-September 11 Mandate:
Educating the Heart of Americans." Excerpts from it were included
in a Turlock Journal article that was published on October 17.
The diary chronicles the anxious experience of getting past layers of
police barricades and coming upon the awful and awesome sight of melted
steel, heaps of ash and plastic-encased clean-up workers. As her diary
shows, Dr. Hughes decided to use her life-altering experience to spark
new approaches and perspectives on education.
"I realized that as an educator and a university president, I had
one of the most powerful tools in the world at my fingertips. That tool
is education," the President wrote.
She hopes that locally and nationally, educators will understand that
education must change to respond to the September 11 crises and the oneness
of heart that resulted. She hopes to urge educators to integrate the transformed
character which unfolded post-September 11. Beyond these changes, the
President wrote about the need to adapt "new pedagogical practices,
and new ways of knowing and critically thinking about the depth and breadth
of teaching and learning."
"The answer lies in whether or not we have the wherewithal to educate
the heart so that our humanity transcends all our differences and leads
us to daily deeds of kindness, expressions of love and respect, and genuine
motivations to help one another - those like us and, especially, those
unlike ourselves," she wrote.