For as long as I can remember*, I have nurtured a romantic fantasy about teaching at a small liberal arts college. While the image is beginning to fade, this discussion among Jonathan Haidt, Frank Bruni and Dan Senor (filling in for Charlie Rose) about the significance of the Middlebury protests against Charles Murray gives me a little hope.
While I realize that I'm merely looking for nails that the hammer I happen to have in my hand is good for pounding, I have two simple suggestions. First, make prose composition a foundational part of a liberal arts education; second, grade all students on a curve. Students should learn to compose themselves in series of coherent paragraphs. Getting a C at college should be an utterly normal experience. At college, students should discover their uniqueness against a backdrop of prosaic normalcy.
*This is obviously hyperbole. Let's say this fantasy is as old as my desire to be an academic.