This document titled “Humanics: Education With a Moral Dimension” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics Professor Herb Zettl in 1986. Zettl was a history professor at Springfield College and he also coached the first Varsity Soccer team as it emerged from club status in 1980. He coached the women until 1997, shortly before our current Coach, John Gibson took over in 2000. Zettl sta...
This document titled “Humanics: Education With a Moral Dimension” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics Professor Herb Zettl in 1986. Zettl was a history professor at Springfield College and he also coached the first Varsity Soccer team as it emerged from club status in 1980. He coached the women until 1997, shortly before our current Coach, John Gibson took over in 2000. Zettl starts off his speech humorously by stating that it is tradition to name a Springfield Professor who had distinguished himself of herself over the years on the faculty and who was on the brink of retirement as the Distinguished Professor of Humanics. He stated that after his initial shock, and some family counseling, he accepted the honor. Zettl states that much has been written on what Humanics is or is not, and he has no intention to reiterate those works. He does state that the purpose of studying our common past is to understand our “common inheritance.” He says that it is not enough to tell our students that events have occurred, ideas were created, and people lived and died, but we must also ask, “what does the past have to do with us? How have we been shaped by the past?” Zettl states that the future must also be a part of the core curriculum. He says, “nothing is more important for us, as professors and coaches, than to strive to instill in our students the ideas of justice, truth, freedom, fair play, respect and concern for others - the necessary values of any free community.” Zettl goes on to quote Elie Wiesel, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps who said what the killers had an education but what they didn’t have was the moral dimension. Zettl states that this is what he believes is the core of Humanics – education with a moral dimension. Zettl next discuses Springfield College as an academic institution committed to academic and athletic excellence and carrying out the Humanics Philosophy by educating the whole person in service to others and raising students to become leaders in the community. He goes on to share the qualities of a leader that he believes are at the heart of Humanics. These qualities are: a spirit of initiative, the ability to take risks, a sense of responsibility, integrity, and knowledge of how to serve others. Zettl states that Humanics calls each and every one of us to the task of being a leader within our own area, no matter how small. Zettl goes on to give excerpts from Springfield College alumni that he interviewed for his project, some of whom graduated as far back as 1912, in order to get input on their responses to their Springfield experience. They all speak of how Springfield provided them with the opportunity to improve their intellectual, physical, and spiritual lives in an atmosphere of trust, respect, and concern for each other. Zettl states it is clear that Springfield College not only prepared these graduates for a career but also for life. Humanics is a word that has a special meaning in the history and philosophy of Springfield College, as well as in the college’s motto of “Spirit, Mind, and Body.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines Humanics as, “the subject or study of human affairs or relations, especially of the human element of a problem or situation as opposed to the mechanical.” In 1962, Dr. Glenn Olds, President of Springfield College at the time, began to wonder why this name was given to the intended philosophy of the college by Dr. Laurence Locke Doggett, Springfield College’s first full-time president. Olds acknowledged that the practices of the faculty were in large part consistent with the Humanics philosophy, but he believed that a more self-conscious application would improve chances of its continuity and survival. To ensure this, a Distinguished Professor of Humanics position was created at the college, first filled by Dr. Seth Arsenian from 1966-1969. The purpose of this position was to catalyze a renewal of consciousness in the philosophy. This was done by annually mandating the Distinguished Professor of Humanics to give a Humanics lecture on the definition of Humanics and what the concept means to them. Arsenian started this tradition in 1967 with his speech titled, “The Meaning of Humanics,” in which he described the concept as a set of ideas, values, and goals that make our college distinct from other colleges and make commitment and unity toward commonly sought goals possible.