Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A liberal arts education need not be a "a waste of time and money"

Should B-students get a liberal arts education?  Not according to a Wall Street Journal essay by "Dilbert" creator Scott Adams, who claims it is "a waste of time and money."  "Wouldn't it make more sense to teach B students something useful, like entrepreneurship?"

Adams goes on to list some of the skills that instead should be taught to B students in our colleges.  However, it should be noted that many of these same skills are learned from a rigorous liberal arts education.  In fact, the definition of a classical liberal arts education embodies the development of such fundamental skills and knowledge as the ability to write persuasively, speak confidently and think critically.  These and more are the goals of liberal arts majors through the study of literature, languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, and science. 

The problem is that too often both liberal arts and business degree programs are producing graduates who haven’t learned much of anything during their four, five or six years in college.  The authors of Academically Adrift have joined others in chronicling how "many of the modern-day trends in higher education have lowered the quality of the educational experience".

I don't argue with Adams about the value of the entrepreneurial skills he believes should be taught to B students, but I think we should look beyond his advice in considering what a college education should offer both A and B students.

Related:  Why some employers value a solid liberal arts education

No comments:

Post a Comment