Generation Time in Education
Opinion Editorial by Sumit Dhar, PhD
What is generation time? A period of time that, on average, marks the difference between two generations of a species. Generation time can be as short as 20 minutes, as in E.Coli, or almost 30 years for humans in developed nations. However, those of us in academe experience a much shorter generation time of a different kind –that of students entering our profession and scientific field. This annual generational ritual is unfolding at institutions across the nation as we speak. Applications are completed, interviews and visits are playing out, admission lists are being finalized, choices between institutions of higher learning will soon be agonized over, and then finally the ritual of entering an area of professional or scientific study will be completed in the summer and fall. No sooner than this cycle is complete, the next one will be underway to usher yet another generation of young scholars into our profession and field.
Educational practices though almost never keep up with this rapid rhythm of initiation and graduation. Educational philosophies are laboriously and deliberately debated. Even when patently evident, changes are diligently vetted. Then the inertia and friction of dogma and comfort have to be overcome before new educational thinking can meet the new generation of students. We would not have it any other way. What we teach and how we teach it are perhaps one of the most precious responsibilities that we have received from those who came before us. With this responsibility comes the obligation to, every so often, revisit our philosophy and measure it for size against the social, political, and economic forces that define our world. On Saturday, April 16, 2016, the ACAE (Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education) will give us one such opportunity in a half-day Clinical Education Forum at AudiologyNOW! 2016 in Phoenix. Register for it here and contribute to enriching audiology education.
Sumit Dhar, PhD, is one of the Academy’s associate editors for www.audiology.org and Audiology Today magazine. He is also the professor and chair of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University. Contact Dr. Dhar.