In the satirical song “Wernher von Braun,” Tom Lehrer sang, “Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down? That’s not my department! says Wernher von Braun.” Lehrer’s satirical songs, including the one about aerospace engineer von Braun, have startled, delighted and tipped off balance generations of listeners. Sometimes when we laugh, however, it’s due to our recognition that there’s a deeper aspect of reality being highlighted that may be worth our attention.
The School of Engineering faculty has been exploring the interconnections of student skill sets and mindset over the past several years as part of its work with KEEN, the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network. A few interlocking concepts that have served us well in this endeavor go by the shorthand of the “3 C’s”: curiosity, connections and creating value. Not surprisingly, these concepts also provide clues to how we want our students to embrace the development of their own character, discovering ways to recognize and make ethical choices that can align well with the University of St. Thomas mission, “All for the Common Good.”