ERIC Number: ED219997
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-May-20
Reference Count: 0
The Pursuit of Excellence. Honors Day Address, The University of Toledo.
Harris, Sydney J.
The concept of excellence is explored in relation to various dimensions. Since the time of ancient Greece, there has been difficulty in defining "the Good," or the nature of human excellence. It is suggested that "the Good" of which excellence is an important part is a fundamental concept of the human personality, and that fundamental concepts cannot be defined. However, it is possible to recognize human excellence in a number of dimensions: physical, mental, moral, and social. It proposed that despite these philosophical problems, there is a need for proper understanding of how human beings can acquire and develop excellence. There are basically four qualities that comprise excellence--efficiency, persistence, courage, and dexterity--in different degrees and combinations. According to Shakespeare, humans have two powers that distinguish them from animals: the power to learn and the power to choose. This is why education and training are important. Human excellence, as distinct from animal excellence, takes basically four forms: excellence in performing, which is physical; excellence in making or creating, which is craftsmanship or art; excellence in thinking or devising, which is mental or intellectual; and excellence in character and social integration, which is moral. Attention is directed to the following concerns: professional pride and a sense of craftsmanship in one's job; excellence in the arts; national life or public affairs; and excellence in the educational system. Humanistic education is the activity of considering the most significant questions and that promotes growth, change, inquiry, and calls for critical thinking and independent judgment. (SW)
Descriptors: Cognitive Development, Creative Development, Educational Benefits, Educational Quality, Fine Arts, Higher Education, Humanism, Individual Development, Moral Development, Moral Values, Professional Development, Self Actualization, Skill Development, Social Development, Student Development, Talent Development
John H. Russel Center for the Study of Higher Education, The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43606.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Toledo Univ., OH. Center for the Study of Higher Education.