College Degrees With A Future -- But What Future?

Posted: Jan 04, 2010 1:50 PM
The new trend is for colleges to proclaim their degree programs "relevant" -- that is, fewer philosophy, classical studies, and liberal arts degrees, and more biology, technology, and Asian languages degrees. Even John Neuhauser, the president of a small liberal arts school in Vermont, admits that his close-knit academy has drawbacks in the New York Times:
The intimate environment small liberal arts colleges provide is a great place to grow up. But there’s no question that smacks of some measure of elitism now.
But Neuhauser, and the Times, fail to ask the question of what is lost when the emphasis switches from time-honored, classical knowledge to technical ability. Competing with China is great, but what if the cost is not understanding why that competition is important, or even virtuous?

A decreased emphasis on liberal arts educations could have far-reaching consequences that transcend the ability to maneuver in the marketplace. It could usher in a faster overall decline.