Friday, August 24, 2012

What's the purpose of a College Degree?

I recently read an article by Katrin Park in the Christian Science Monitor's on-line edition and was intrigued by her observations on the value of a college degree in the humanities.

While I agree with the earlier points that are made in the article, my favorite quote, and one that has my full endorsement, is the one about the purpose of college being to develop responsible citizens and good people.

 Below are some excerpts from the article.

My Gloriously Useless Degrees in the Humanities

"Many insist the US needs more engineers and scientists to revive the economy. The hard truth is no degree guarantees a secure trajectory anymore. While I may not remember all I absorbed studying the humanities, I learned to think for myself. That has been invaluable in the workplace."

"A foreign language works like a passport. Critical thinking helps put complex situations into perspective. Emotional acuity serves as a compass when navigating office politics. And these are skills that training in the humanities can enhance."

"Higher education is more than a vocational or technical training. The essential purpose of it has never been primarily about “usefulness” in a narrow sense of acquiring a specific, practical tool to make oneself marketable."
"In the words of my late college professor – of philosophy – the purpose of higher education is to become broadly acquainted with cultural traditions and deeply appreciate them, so that it may help us become responsible citizens and good people in general."

"I have long forgotten the details of what I absorbed in classrooms and libraries. I did, however, learn how to think for myself, and that is invaluable in the workplace and outside of it."

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