This was the assessment of US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan during an October 2013 panel summit on the state of education in America. Pointing to a two-year study of 166,000 people in 24 countries, Duncan revealed that the US ranks near the bottom in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments when compared with other industrialized nations. The implications here are significant because this is the skill set that is needed to be successful in today’s workplace.
Wait a minute. Don’t our leaders already know this? Aren’t we already teaching math, reading and technical skills even at the primary level? And yet we are coming up short. Clearly this shows that solving the problem means more than just focusing on what is being taught. We need to rethink ourapproach to education. In the words of Secretary Duncan: “We can’t just invest in the status quo; we have to invest in a vision of reform.”
At Maharishi University of Management we are fundamentally reinventing higher education. Our faculty is pioneering new strategies in education design that will effectively address the problems of the past and allow a generation of enlightened leadership to emerge. And it’s happening today, at a time when it is needed most. In fact we’ve been doing this for more than 40 years.
Our university was founded in 1971 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Offering both undergraduate and graduate programs, the University’s mission is to fulfill the highest ideals of education. Foremost among these ideals is to develop the inner creative potential of the student while he or she is satisfying the traditional academic requirements of higher education. At Maharishi University of Management we always keep in mind that the student is at the center of the educational experience. To make education meaningful, the emphasis has to shift away from teaching and toward learning. It’s a subtle distinction, but an important one. Education isn’t for the knowledge; it’s for the student gaining the knowledge.
It was our founder’s view that the process of education takes place in the field of consciousness: “Complete education, or absolute education, is not a process of knowing anything else; it is in fact returning from anything else to know oneself.” Consciousness-based education begins with transcendence and self-discovery. It gives the student the tools to begin to answer the big questions in life. Who am I? What is the meaning of life? How can I find fulfillment?
Knowledge, such as that presented in an academic discipline, is inextricably connected with the consciousness of the knower. Each pertains to the other. The togetherness of the knower, process of knowing and the known allow knowledge to flow in the waves of conscious experience. The ability to synthesize and comprehend the objective field of the known is dependent on the subjective field of the knower. An object of knowledge remains the same. What evolves is the consciousness of the knower and the active process of knowing. In this context, Maharishi University of Management advocates the unfolding of knowledge in two parallel streams – one on the level of consciousness and one on the level of intellectual understanding. The result is that knowledge is gained from inside and outside.
Maharishi University of Management aids in the personal development of the knower by incorporating a balanced, stress-free routine that includes daily meditation with a rigorous, but comfortable class schedule that allows time for recreation, study and social activities. We serve vegetarian organic meals because research has shown that health and nutrition play an important role in coherent brain functioning, cognitive learning and social behavior.
The process of knowing is enhanced through a blended model of liberal and applied learning that incorporates the development of consciousness into a curriculum that inspires academic excellence. A focus on continuous improvement has ensured the incorporation of best practices in the areas of academic standards, curriculum development, instruction, and performance assessment. For example, the block system (one course a month) means that students won’t have to juggle five courses at the same time. They can focus without distraction and go much deeper into their chosen field of knowledge. Critical and creative thinking is encouraged, and principles of “active learning” are utilized to promote a more meaningful and interactive exchange of knowledge.
The University examines the known through a broad range of academic courses and majors – some traditional like Business, Art and Computer Science, and some new and innovative like Maharishi Vedic Science and Sustainable Living – that challenge our students and prepare them for success in life.
It’s no surprise then that our graduates are in great demand in the marketplace. Our placement rate is well above the national average because our graduates are exactly what employers are looking for. Consider this: in a 2013 survey of 318 employers nationwide, 95% said they “give hiring preference to college graduates with skills that will enable them to contribute to innovation in the workplace.” Additionally, 93% noted that, “a candidate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their undergraduate major.”
We’ve arrived at a time when employers are looking for more than a well-written resume. Whether they know it or not, they are looking for consciousness because fundamentally that is the key to their success. To get there they need a competitive advantage. They need confident, self-actualized individuals who can adapt quickly to the changing dynamics of the modern workplace. Today, more than ever, they are finding the formula for that in the students of Maharishi University of Management.
MUM students and faculty discuss Consciousness-Based education
What's Been Missing From Education: fact-based as opposed to Consciousness-Based education
Dr. Eason is the Dean of Student Life and a member of the University Executive Council. He is Assistant Professor of Maharishi Vedic Science and Chair of the Department of Development of Consciousness. Dr. Eason earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Maharishi Vedic Science from MUM. He received the Vyasa Award for the most outstanding dissertation where his research connected objective and subjective methods of gaining knowledge, Maharishi Vedic Science and consciousness, and the unified field of physics with pure consciousness. He also explored the nature of time and the influence of impulses of creative intelligence active on different days. Dr. Eason has been a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation program for more than 30 years.