David H. Nguyen, Education Consultant, College Lecturer, PhD
The University of San Francisco (USF) does not have an interior design major, but does have a design major and state of the art equipment for learning art and design. I taught as an adjunct faculty member at USF for two semesters. The central message, or feel, that I got from my time there from the students and the top administrators was that the campus cared deeply about social justice. This commitment to humanitarian compassion and the holistic development of the student – mind, body, and spirit – is the best value that USF has to offer. No matter what major a student chooses, she must undergo a core curriculum that emphasizes an understanding of the ethical and social implications of her participation within society. Students are not just taught to master a subject, area of knowledge, or vocational skill, but are encouraged to wrestle with the question of how can I help my fellow human with the skills that I have. More than that, USF encourages students to wrestle with the “why” I should help my fellow human with the training that I have. My alma mater was the University of California, Berkeley and there I encountered many students (and eventually, alums) who scratched their heads about why they were well equipped to be successful yet were helpless against the gnawing emptiness that comes from not understanding this thing called “purpose.” A former admissions official at Yale recently wrote about this problem. College does not have to be an either-or false dichotomy of mastering a subject area versus understanding how to wrestle with the deep questions of life.