“The Promise of Liberal Education in the Global Age” by Christopher B. Nelson
Nelson argues that universities have become “hyper-specialized” institutions promoting “an increasingly intense focus on an increasingly narrow field of study.” Why does this worry Nelson? What does this phenomenon look like?
Have you seen this here at Penn State?
How have gen-ed programs at universities suffered due to this hyper-specialization?
What has St. John’s College in Annapolis done to enhance its gen-ed program?
Do you think similar gen-ed programs could work at other universities? At Penn State?
Nelson concludes by linking liberal education with innovation. How so? How effective is this conclusion?
– YCDA Ch. 10 “What Your Campus Can Do”
How and why does Anders diminish the importance of resumés and interviews at university job fairs?
Why are these elements more suited for “tightly defined vocational majors” but not Liberal Arts majors?
How effective are his arguments?
Anders cites several examples of universities that have taken decisive action to improve the job prospects of Liberal Arts majors.
Which sounds most effective to you? Which do you wish Penn State would employ?
Anders observes that Liberal Arts majors seek out three intrinsic rewards from their work; autonomy, mastery, and purpose. These students are driven by a desire to control their lives, learn about their world, and accomplish something that endures.
Why are these rewards more likely to be promoted in the Liberal Arts rather than in other specialized, vocational disciplines?
Anders argues that people with vocational degrees are less likely to seek out these rewards throughout their lives.
If you are trained “in a more tightly defined discipline, you are less likely to let the hunger for new experiences drive your career” (262). Is it fair for Anders to critique these specialized, vocational degrees?
If you agree with Anders, can you relate to his concerns?
Do you know friends/family who has sought specialized, vocational degrees?
In your humble opinion, do you think their work allows for much autonomy, mastery, or purpose in their lives? If so, great! But if not, do you think they know what they are missing?