Are colleges moving away from the age-old traditions of offering students a liberal arts education toward becoming vocational schools?a well known critical thinker
It’s not as far-fetched as once thought.
A recent story about colleges becoming more “career-minded” got me thinking about the purpose of higher education in today’s world.
Does it really matter what your college major is?
If you’re pursuing a career in engineering, then it matters that you study hard during your years in the Engineering School, rather than taking an overload of Philosophy.
However, if your goal is to become a well-rounded adult, who can communicate (in a method other than texting!), be a leader, and be a critical thinker, then studying a liberal arts core of subjects is a perfectly fine way to go through college. After all, these are highly sought after skills that any employer would want from its employees.
The trouble with a “vocational” mindset is that the vocations of the future may not have been conceived yet. Students starting college in 2012 will enter a job market in 2016 that may be vastly different than that of today.
Think about this: Five years ago, no one knew what an iPhone was! Imagine what the future will bring.
Some colleges are beginning to consider a person’s experiences as part of a new way of offering credentials. This new brand of credential – the “flexible degree” is even starting to be seen as an option at large, research universities.
In many ways, it makes perfect sense. Much like Northeastern University’s co-op system, it may be a way for non-traditional students and others to form a more appropriate degree for the 21st Century job market.
What do you think about the role of Higher Education in the near future?