• Creator
  • Redmond, Charles J
  • Created Date
  • 2005-04-21
  • Publisher
  • Springfield College
  • Description
  • This document titled “Exploring Spirit at Springfield College” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics Charles J. Redmond on April 21, 2005. Redmond starts by explaining that after conducting over 40 small and large focus groups throughout his year as Distinguished Professor of Humanics, he learned that the most powerful part of communication is listening, and thus, decided to presen... more
    This document titled “Exploring Spirit at Springfield College” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics Charles J. Redmond on April 21, 2005. Redmond starts by explaining that after conducting over 40 small and large focus groups throughout his year as Distinguished Professor of Humanics, he learned that the most powerful part of communication is listening, and thus, decided to present his speech in the typical lecture format. He says, “it will be you and me.” A key observation Redmond made over the year was the role of communication and spirit. Redmond found that in relation to the Springfield College triangle of spirit, mind, and body, mind and body are readily practiced on a regular basis, and although we celebrate spirit, he states he is not convinced we do so as well. Redmond next goes over answers that he came about when he asked individuals to define spirit or to describe activities that demonstrate spirit. Responses were: Humanics in Action Day, the lively interaction between staff, students, and faculty at Cheney, and the extensive outreach that the SC family is involved in. Redmond quotes others who have sought to define spirit. For example, “Spirit is the unseen force that breathes life into us, enlivens us, gives us energy and permeates all of our experiences” (Moxley, 2000). Redmond next goes on to discuss the origins of spirit as something that is developed, nurtured, shaped and challenged by life experiences including, education, faith, secular and non-secular, self-reflection, successes, failures, self-concept, and most importantly, the relationships of family, friends, and mentors. Redmond next gives examples of the reflections about spirit provided by the Springfield College Family from the focus group sessions. Examples what spirit is include: the essence of the college mission, the energy that guides us through life, the glue of the triangle, the pulse of the college, a sense of belonging, connectedness to something bigger and beyond yourself, what is underneath and beyond the mind and body…the core of ones being, synergy with nature, the unique special feeling someone visiting campus feels on their first visit to the college, and an enthusiasm for life. In Redmond’s analysis of what other said, he concludes that, “spirit is much more difficult to define than Mind and Body, in fact Spirit may defy definition.” Redmond comes up with some descriptors of his own on what he believes defines spirit. They are: connectedness, relationships, community, respect, energy, and communication. Redmond also comes up with some suggestions to help instill components of these descriptors. He says to slow down, maintain life’s balance, take a risk, make the effort to develop new friendships and relationships, and become more visible and attend more college functions. To faculty and other employment groups, he encourages the integration of discussion of the Humanics Philosophy into classes. Redmond discusses re-creating the tradition of greeting everyone on campus. Redmond concludes by stating that most importantly, if one were to take away anything from his remarks of the day, to continue to be or to become a great listener. He says that truly felt and sincere listening can minimize the perceived disconnects, tensions, and lack of collegiality amongst us. Furthermore, good listening skills can have positive individual and community outcomes. 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. less
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