NY Times Op-Ed: Questioning the Mission of College

It’s interesting to read about the behind-the-scenes intersections between academia and politics. So much of this information is not transparent to us, as students and instructors. Here’s my favorite passage from this Op-Ed column:

How practical versus idealistic should the approach to college be? I’m somewhat torn, and past columns have reflected that. I applaud proposals to give young people better information about how various fields of study match up with the job market and about projected returns on their investments in college. And for students who want college to be an instant pivot into a job with decent pay, a nudge toward certain disciplines makes excellent sense.

But college is about more than that, with less targeted, long-term benefits that aren’t easily captured by metrics. And some of the reforms being promoted right now lose sight of that and threaten to lessen the value of a degree.

“You just don’t know what your education is going to result in,” Rawlings told me by phone last week. “Many of the kids graduating from college these days are going to hold a number of different jobs in their lives, and many of those jobs have not yet been invented. For a world like that, what’s the best education? Seems to me it’s a very general education that enables you to think critically.” For precisely that reason, he said, the push in China now is for more young people to study humanities, even as the new emphasis here is vocational.

For the full article, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/opinion/sunday/bruni-questioning-the-missionof-college.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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