Open your minds, Open your hearts… the Priceless Side of Higher Education for Adults

The Format

Everyone is familiar with the traditional learning format of universities and colleges but an for an adult returning to school there are so many different options. Adults have families, full-time jobs and many other responsibilities. These responsibilities make it hard to attend classes in the traditional format. Adults may find an accelerated format with classes at night, or blended in an online format much easier to attain a degree in their desired major.

Not only do these other formats for learning make it more convenient for working adults to get their degree. It also helps expand personal ideas for life outside of the workplace and classroom.

Expanding Ideas

If you saw our previous post about building confidence in college, you know that attending a higher education institution has much more meaning than a degree. In addition to building confidence in college, an adult student also can learn critical thinking and brainstorming techniques they can take into the workplace or share with their community.

By taking courses in the cohort model, adult students are able to expand their professional and personal network. Many students were able to further their careers outside of the classroom thanks to the connections they made with their peers in the cohorts.

Opening your Heart

Attending college with other adults with similar situations and responsibilities, understanding the hard times some people have gone through and being able to relate to hard times in the past can change life after graduation. Many students become much more involved in their communities. They volunteer their time to help those less fortunate. They share their experiences from the classroom and in life to inspire the people around them.

These are the priceless benefits from higher education and much of it has to do with the students working together to achieve their personal and professional goals. As an institution we are proud to be able to offer such an atmosphere and even more proud of each and every alum to achieve their goals and inspire their neighborhood.


This is an experience that I always wanted in my life but I didn’t have the resources, or I didn’t have the confidence, or I didn’t have the support to undertake this kind of journey. Now that I found a way to do it I want to move on to the Masters program and I also want to do so much more in my community; volunteering, working, in my family, as far as getting more people and friends to grow the way that I have over the last four years. I just want to go to the highest heights that I can as an individual.

Its becoming better and better. That’s how you know that this is a college invested in it’s students. Some colleges decline and disappear but this college as been around for a long time and its only getting better. That is something that is priceless.

Mission Blog: Marney Tyrell

“Enhancing each student’s development, both as an individual and as a member of society”

As part of the ePortfolio classes Albertus Magnus College students have an opportunity to write about the mission statement of the college and how this statement impacts their lives now as college students and in the future. Student Marney Tyrell of Milford, member of the class of 2014, shared her thoughts on the College’s commitment to “enhancing each student’s development, both as an individual and as a member of society.”

The line from the mission statement that resonates with me is the following: “The College provides an educational environment dedicated to enhancing each student’s development, both as an individual and as a member of society.”

Since I have been at Albertus I have enhanced my development as a student in the way that I think about what I am learning. In one class my professor is extremely engaging in lectures in a way that makes students think deeply about what he is saying. Having teachers like this really helps students think critically about what is being said. Thinking in this way helps students’ process information and develop their own unique ideas.

I will live the mission by making sure what I learn is given back to society. For example, I will use the skills I learn in my major (art therapy) to help others in our society. Even though I will be helping individuals, they in turn will affect the lives of others. It is like a domino effect, one change affecting another change. Therefore, the larger society is affected and changed.

If I was talking to other students about Albertus I would say I feel that I have grown intellectually as a student since I have been going to school here.

Read more about Albertus’ Dominican Heritage here.

Russians and Chechens

Historical context helps us to better understand the world behind today’s headlines.

A map of the Caucasian isthmus from 1852. (PUBLIC DOMAIN)

A map of the Caucasian isthmus from 1852. (PUBLIC DOMAIN)

The ethnicity of the Tsarnaev brothers, accused of the bombing of the Boston Marathon in April, 2013, has generated commentary about Chechnya and the Russian wars since the 1990’s to subjugate this mountainous region.

The historical context of this news reporting has been shallow.

An experiment in teaching anthropology through literature entailed the exposure of students to the 19th century cultures of imperial Russia and Chechen warriors.

Leo Tolstoy served as an officer in the Tsar’s army during the 1850’s as part of the two-century long Russian campaign to bring the Caucasus under control. Tolstoy’s final short novel, the masterpiece Hadji Murád, depicts the effects of the strategy of Tsar Nicholas I: deforestation, pollution of wells, destruction of livestock, and elimination of means of subsistence of the Chechens, who mixed farming and sheep herding.

Drawing upon his military experience in the Caucasus, Tolstoy reconstructs an incident in the conflict.

After the Russians had laid waste the region, Sado, an ally of the fierce warrior Hadji Murad, returns to his village to find his young son stabbed in the back with a bayonet.

The two stacks of hay there had been burnt, the apricot and cherry trees he had planted and reared were broken and scorched, and worse still all the beehives and bees had been burnt. The wailing of the women and the little children, who cried with their mothers, mingled with the lowing of the hungry cattle for whom there was no food. The bigger children, instead of playing, followed their elders with frightened eyes. The fountain was polluted, evidently on purpose, so that the water could not be used. The mosque was polluted in the same way, and the Mullah and his assistants were cleaning it out. No one spoke of hatred of the Russians. The feeling experienced by all the Chechens, from the youngest to the oldest, was stronger than hate. It was not hatred, for they did not regard those Russian dogs as human beings, but it was such repulsion, disgust, and perplexity at the senseless cruelty of these creatures, that the desire to exterminate them–like the desire to exterminate rats, poisonous spiders, or wolves—was as natural an instinct as that of self-preservation.*

In the 19th century, the Russians depicted the Chechens, whose land they were appropriating, as bandits and rapists. In 1944, fifteen years of selective exile and imprisonment of Chechen leaders culminated in a brutal wholesale deportation and dispersal of the Chechen population to other areas of the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, in the 1990’s and early 21st century, the Chechens resumed their battle for independence, and in reprisal for insensate brutality by Russian military forces carried out savage terrorist reprisals.

The past and the present are one.


*“Hadji Murád,” in Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy (New York: Harper and Row: 1967), p. 629.


robert-bourgeoisDr. Robert Bourgeois is the Associate Professor of Anthropology, Humanities, and Global Studies, and the Director of Global Studies at Albertus Magnus College. He received his B.A. from Yale University, and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He joined the Albertus faculty in 2005.