Letter to the Editor: Deep thought is needed on campus

Here is a little story that happened to me the other day that I wish to share with the Rider community.

Walking down the hall, I met a student who was in my math class last year. I asked how she had been and what classes she was taking this semester. She responded that she was taking statistics, and that she really liked her professor. She also said that she was learning about variances. But, when I asked what variances were, she looked confused and said that she wasn’t sure.

I told her that it is important that you know the meanings of all the words that you learn in class, and that she should pay attention to the ideas and words to be sure you understand them.

She agreed, and continued walking up the stairs, looking as if she was deep in thought. Isn’t this what we are supposed to do here at Rider, to be engaged in deep thought?

Professors need to think deeply about how to present the ideas to students and colleagues. Students need to think deeply to understand the ideas and relations with other ideas; to be able to focus on the highlights of the chapter or class; to know how to think logically based upon the principles they learned; and how to independently arrive at conclusions, checking for logical, empirical and historical validity. We need to understand emotions, for positive emotions generated by talking with people help memory and understanding while strong emotions interfere with proper rational thinking.

When I look at students, I feel so happy, for I am looking at the future. They will need to mature to think independently, not to be swayed by a majority of others, to know what is meant by rational thinking and verification so that they will be able to deal with the serious problems they will confront. They need to know how to apply the tools and principles they learn to the unforeseen challenges they will face.

It is wonderful to be alive and to look ahead to the future!

Dr. Sanford Aranoff

Adjunct Associate Professor of Mathematics

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