Our View: Students should invest in education

In this week’s issue of The Index, our staff reported on a group of students serving as preceptors for classes this semester. These roles, along with teaching assistants other leadership roles, are a great example of students participating in the process of education.

It can be easy for students to view their education purely from a consumer perspective. It’s built into our language — we pay to “receive” a quality education. While we can’t deny the importance of business in higher education, it’s also important to recognize being a student is a full-time job and should be approached as an interactive process where students input is as valuable as educator output.

We, The Index Editorial Board, encourage students to seek out educational opportunities like precepting classes. These positions offer students a variety of opportunities that traditional classes cannot. They give students the chance to become experts in specific subject areas that might not be offered in the traditional curriculum. Students who precept those subjects have the advantage of learning more about that topic themselves and sharing that knowledge with their peers.

These classes are also beneficial to the departments that offer them. They offer a level of diversity in curriculum content that might not be satisfied through other special topic courses. In addition, these classes are often relevant to emerging fields or social issues. In departments where faculty might already be at full capacity, precepted courses are a boon to the teachers who simply don’t have room to add to their course load.

As preceptors, students gain valuable professional development.They learn how to approach the educational process from another side. That kind of experience can open doors. For students planning on becoming teachers or working in academic life, precepting a course is a strong talking point on their resume. At the undergraduate level, students have a chance to build skills they will need for those occupations.

We, The Index Editorial Board, know how important experience can be to a student’s future. Here, at The Index, we learn skills that go beyond the basics of journalism coursework. We learn how to interact professionally with one another, how to participate in a vital community forum, how to work in an office environment, and how to meet deadlines. Most of all, we learn how to become self-regulated learners, and that’s something we can all benefit from.