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Monsters University: New Release from Pixar

Monsters-University-Teaser-Poster-2The Pixar movie Monsters University opens today.  Along with the movie’s official website, the makers of the film also created a mock university website that is very creative and fun. It includes all of the elements that you would find at any college or university website (admission, academics, campus life) but with a monster twist, of course. My favorite feature is the “message from the dean” video, complete with the college mission statement and Alma mater. There is also a collection of other Monsters University videos here including a campus tour, fraternity life, and college roommates.

According to the dean, Monsters University is a place where: “I can love to learn and learn what I love.” Now that’s a pretty good vision for a college, actually. In fact, it’s a pretty good summary one of the most important books written about higher education in the last 10 years: James K.A. Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation. Smith argues that a good education is one that shapes and directs our affections. Who knew Pixar was a fan of Augustine? Needless to say, the movie looks very promising. I love Pixar films and my kids do too.

I often think about how I developed my first images of what college would be like. I was very fortunate to be born into a family with two college educated parents. From the time I knew what “college” was, I assumed I’d be going. As I watch this movie (hopefully this weekend!), I will be wondering about what young people will think college is like. Monsters University will certainly serve to shape many adolescents’ imaginations (another theme of Dr. Smith) about college life. And many will begin to picture themselves on campus, in a classroom, on a sport’s field, eating in a cafeteria, and sleeping in a dormitory. It’s only a movie, of course, and a cartoon to boot, but it will leave an impression, for better or worse, about what college is like and what it is for. Pass the popcorn!

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