Ouachita Baptist University hosted renowned scholar Dr. Bart McGettrick on March 6 as part of the university’s Birkett Williams Lecture Series. McGettrick’s lecture highlighted the globalization of education, and what it means to be an educated individual.
McGettrick is currently dean of education and professor of educational development at Liverpool Hope University in the United Kingdom. Liverpool Hope is Ouachita’s newest international education partner.
Previously a teacher of geography, McGettrick served as principal of St. Andrew’s College for teacher education in Scotland from 1985 to 1999. He served as professor of education at the University of Glasgow from 1993 to 2005 and was named the first dean of the faculty of education at Glasgow in 1999. McGettrick is emeritus professor of education and dean emeritus of the faculty of education at the University of Glasgow.
McGettrick explained that the purpose of education is “simply about the flourishing of humanity.
“I think sometimes we make education far too complex by seeing it as the technical ways in which we measure achievement and attainment,” McGettrick said. “At the end of the day, it is something to do with every person flourishing with their gifts.”
McGettrick noted that in society today, it seems as though only the things that are measured matter.
“That leads you into an education, which is about measured outcomes, but you don’t find education on pieces of paper or lists of exams results. You find that education is in the hearts of people.”
McGettrick also discussed what it means to be an educated person who will use those gifts for the glory of God.
“An educated person is someone of love, care and compassion; a person with a care for beauty and wonder, who will have a deep sense of hope, and who will serve the world by her or his gifts,” McGettrick explained.
He described education as a journey through which people are transformed by personal relationships with others, just as that was the work of Jesus Christ when He was on the earth.
“On this journey, the footsteps are more important than the signposts,” McGettrick said. “It’s who you’re walking with on the journey that is more important than the signposts that you pass.”
McGettrick concluded his lecture with this thought, “Remember that children will learn through the smiling eyes of a teacher.”
Ouachita’s Birkett Williams lecture series was established in 1977 through a gift from the late Birkett L. Williams, a 1910 Ouachita graduate. His generous endowment established the lectures as an opportunity to extend the concepts of a liberal arts education beyond the classroom by bringing outstanding scholars and public figures to Ouachita’s campus.
By Lara Overman