It’s been a little while since my last post, but I have a few surprises in store for readers in the coming weeks on EducatedQuest. The first, following a glorious Memorial Day holiday in my New Jersey home, is based on a visit to one of the next colleges I will profile, Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia. There I learned about a former women’s liberal arts college and the challenges it has taken on during the early years of going co-ed.
I also took part in listening to two presentations on the future of the liberal arts college including one by S. Georgia Nugent, former President of Kenyon College (OH) and Senior Fellow for the Council of Independent Colleges. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are questioning the “value: of the liberal arts college, as are too many in the education press. There are some interesting comments about the current state and future of the liberal arts college that I find inappropriate and silly. But since you get to read them in the media, I hope you will take a moment to read my replies.
The leaders of liberal arts colleges, however, need to do a better job to sell the importance and value of the education they offer. Too often I hear phrases such as “critical thinking,” that do not resonate well with high school students or their parents. The better selling points of a liberal arts college are:
I’ve come to appreciate the liberal arts college over the course of my working life. There are times that I wish I had chosen one over a large state university. I would have been more ambitious academically, less shy about seeking help in the areas that I struggled. I will even go as far to say that my computing and mathematics skills would have been better because I would have had better teachers. Unless you’re totally sold on a pre-professional major that requires some specialized training to qualify for immediate entry-level employment, the liberal arts college may be the wiser investment over such larger schools.
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