Pardon the snarky caption: that’s me talking, not Professor Will Snyder; I’m sure he knows what the Blackboard means.
I could write a book about this article and maybe I should.
For now, here’s the LAT article and you can read it yourself. I will simply say that the liberal arts ARE alive and well at Macaulay, and that’s a good thing. So yes, I’m happy to have the shoutout. And it’s a bonus be in the good company of my friends at Barrett Honors College at ASU.
As I prepare to welcome the Macaulay Honors College Class of 2015 next week, I am naturally drawn to thoughts about what young men and women need to know to prepare for professional and personal success. We aim to keep our promise to deliver a strong foundation for our ambitious, talented students.
Is a liberal arts curriculum still a great preparation for the workplace of the future, as the source of strong and effective skills for critical thinking and communication? My answer is, emphatically, yes. And that’s what US employers say in survey after survey.
I’m not saying that liberal arts offer the one true path. No major does. Remember the engineering glut of a few years back? Nimbleness and the ability to learn are quite possibly the most important traits to cultivate, given the number of times that today’s college graduates are likely to change jobs. The workplace is not going to stop changing.
I do happen to be a fan of the book Higher Education? and I think the authors are targeting some critically important areas for discussion.
But a liberal arts path is not one that is choked with weeds and broken ideas and doomed careers.
I’m thinking about this not only as Dean, but as the parent of a recent college graduate — history major — looking for a job. Perhaps you saw Peter Weinberg’s recent article in the NYT about returning home after college: Growing UP and Going Home: Life in the Pleasure Palace.
(Good way to sneak in a plug, right?)
Now, maybe only his momma would read all 140 comments to this article. And some seemed to me to be thoughtful and interesting. But many of them seemed to typify a general mistrust of the liberal arts, i.e., why didn’t you major in something USEFUL and then you’d have a job? Or, just go get a JOB and stop whining!
I will be thinking about these challenges as I prepare for orientation next week. Bet a lot of our incoming students — and their parents — will be thinking about them too. No answers from me today, just a lot of questions.