The First Word: People and Place

People and place. These two, more than any others, shape student learning. We might call this the personality and geography of learning.

Whenever I meet North Park University graduates I hear a story or two of their time on this campus. In listening to these stories I’ve discovered something interesting. When talking about their undergraduate years former students rarely discuss what they learned; rather they tell about who was present in their learning and where they learned. People and place.

People. We learn in large measure from the company we keep—teachers in the classroom, of course, but many others as well . . . coaches, counselors, custodians, mentors of every sort. And we learn from our peers . . . fellow students, teammates, choir members, co-workers.

Place. Our learning is also shaped and reshaped, formed and transformed, by our environment—a specific laboratory, a campus bench, an internship site, a riverbank, a library nook.

At North Park the people and places which shape student learning are as broad and diverse as our great city itself. This is why we claim that “Chicago is our classroom and all Chicagoans are our teachers.”

In this issue of the North Parker we reflect on some of the people in our community and the places on our campus which have inspired learning for multiple generations of students. In reading this issue I imagine you’ll discover a place you’ve never visited or a person you’ve not met. But I’m also quite sure you’ll see yourself, and your own learning experience at North Park, reflected in some of these stories.

People and place. We celebrate both for their influence on student learning at North Park.

David L. Parkyn is the president of North Park University

Next Steps

Return to the Spring 2011 North Parker online

Learn more about President Parkyn

President David L. Parkyn