Education - Page 1 - Ask Margit

- Page 1
Ask Margit
By Margit B. Weisgal,
Contributing Writer

A Place for New Ideas

Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.

– Satchel Paige

In an interview with Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of University of Maryland, Baltimore County, he talked about what made UMBC so special. “Young people – students – need a space where they have the freedom to exchange ideas openly and without fear. When I came to UMBC, that was my goal.”

Hrabowski expanded this concept when he started the Wisdom Institute ( “It fosters ongoing and meaningful relationships between retired faculty and staff from UMBC and the broader community. Our focus will be to provide opportunities for ongoing engagement including forums for sharing information and experiences, engaging in and disseminating scholarship, responding to the call of service, and sponsoring gatherings for social interaction and entertainment.”

Most colleges and universities see their different communities as separate entities: there are the students, the faculty and the staff. Yes, students and faculty interact, but it’s usually in the formal setting of the classroom, either face-to-face or online. The two groups rarely get together to just talk, to  rainstorm solutions to today’s problems, to address issues for which there are not classes because they don’t fit into the various curricula offered. How many instances exist where those of different races, religions, cultures or backgrounds can share what it’s like to be them?

Occasionally, there will be that space for open and honest discussions, such as the University of Baltimore’s semester-long class on Divided Baltimore, which addressed “segregation: its rationale, its consequences, and the Baltimore region’s response to it. Any solution requires understanding the structural causes of segregation in Baltimore, the considerable social and economic costs of injustice and inequity, and the need for multi-disciplinary and collaborative approaches to problem solving,” according to the school. But it was only one class two years ago.

The Wisdom Institute, on the other hand, is on-going, taking advantage of emeritus faculty members to involve the students in more meaningful ways, while at the same  ime keeping the retirees mentally active and socially engaged as they get older. Upcoming topics include language barriers, deafness,

Ask Margit, continued on page 9