Assessments

Mary Magdalene (studying), Rogier Van der Weyden c. 1445

Mary Magdalene (studying), Rogier Van der Weyden c. 1445

Talk around campus in recent days has been full of references to final papers, final exams, take-homes, studying, “just finished,” “will be finished . . .”

Finals week.

While we are wishing everyone well, and praying for successful results all around, the thought of “finals” is thought-provoking as well.

People, and entities — like the Women’s Center, face assessments all along the line. My daughter is having to pass timed tests on multiplication facts these days. My father has a yearly mental status assessment as part of a study on Alzheimers in which he’s participating. In between those extremes, most of us can look forward to a string of assessments related to school, work, sometimes even volunteer activities, health, personal goals, . . . probably there are some more categories.

Not many of these assessments are as “final” as the term “finals” suggests; not even “finals.” Final exams are final in that they are a last chance to produce something that will count towards a grade in a course, and that can be pretty final. But as far as being the final word on what’s been learned, what’s been influenced, what’s going to prove useful or even transformative from that experience of learning, they’re awfully premature. Those things we find out over time, as we put what we’ve learned, been shown, been introduced to, into use; think about what’s been mentioned, keep coming back to the questions that have been raised and working away at the answers that keep eluding us; find ourselves remembering that particular phrase or comment again . . . and again . . . and again . . .

So we hope that those tests — the tests of time, of continuing interest, of deepening value, of handiness and helpfulness, of growing clarity — will give all of us, including the Women’s Center, favorable marks.

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About Ha_Qohelet

Ha_Qohelet is a transliteration of Hebrew definite article plus a feminine participle, all together meaning "the (feminine) one who assembles" or who calls together. Qohelet is the title of one of the books of the Hebrew Scripture, known in English as Ecclesiastes. The Women's Center at LPTS feels the epithet of Qohelet is a fitting one for what we do and are. The Women's Center is, indeed, a caller-together, a caller-to-wisdom, and an assembler -- of people, of ideas, of actions, and ultimately, we hope, of transformations in the world. In this context, Ha_Qohelet is the Director of the Women's Center, and Editor-in-Chief of Wimminwise.

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