Am I doomed to encountering weird education-related news today?
Webster University (which is located in my area and is quite respected by my colleagues who are from around here) has terminated an MA student for lacking empathy:
A former Webster University student who was studying to be a family counselor says in a lawsuit that he was dismissed from a master’s degree program after it was determined that he lacked empathy. . .
The student, David Schwartz, 44, of University City, had received all A’s and only one C in his course work, according to a school transcript. But he was dismissed from the program on March 14 after he received a “no credit” for failing to successfully complete the practicum, in which he was to apply his class work to a real-world counseling setting. Schwartz alleges in his lawsuit that he was deemed a poor performer after he wrote an anonymous letter to the dean criticizing a professor’s teaching methods and noting the romantic relationship between that professor and an administrator.
Of course, if you object to a professor sleeping with an administrator you must definitely lack empathy. Criticizing somebody’s teaching is also very cruel. Aren’t you supposed to be understanding and tolerant of everybody, no matter how bad they are at what they do?
Jokes aside, it would be great to know how WebsterU measures a student’s empathy level. It is also of interest to me why empathy is so crucial to a family counselor. If I were to visit one, the last thing I’d be looking for would be pity and impotent sighing over my problems. I always thought that a counselor should at least strive to remain emotionally uninvolved in order to avoid any kind of bias. In my view, a valuable counselor isn’t the one who’s sitting there shedding tears over a client’s problems. Just the opposite, a good counselor is somebody who can assess a situation with some degree of objectivity and offer useful mechanisms of dealing with a problem.
For empathy, I go to my friends. It’s their job to be always on my side and tell me how I’m right about everything. A counselor, however, should be able to offer objective insights irrespective of how much the client moans, weeps, and blames everybody else for everything.