Thursday, April 12, 2012

Liberal Arts Colleges

Perhaps it's finally happening that parents, students and maybe the public in general are acknowledging that the cost of a four-year college education doesn't measure up to its value.  A recent conference at Lafayette College examined some of the problems plaguing liberal arts colleges, and, not surprisingly, college presidents and administrators decided that the problems do not lie with the colleges but with the public that doesn't understand what colleges do!  It's the 'narrative' that's the problem and colleges need to create a new one.  What hubris.  

For example, "A common refrain from the conference was that it’s not the liberal arts colleges that are broken, but rather the conversation that they have been caught up in."  and "We must continue to stay the course, not make concessions to a population that does not understand what we do, and make the case that what we do is valuable,” Daniel H. Weiss, Lafayette's president, said."  

Administrators also touted the on-campus residential experience as necessary to developing "well-rounded students."  Well-rounded?  It would have been more accurate had they said that the residential on-campus experience is essential to one of academe's less openly touted goals,  that of re-creating students in its own image.  Campus life, away from parents and almost any kind of responsible adult supervision, helps to break down whatever values and beliefs students bring with them when they enter college, thus making students more easily influenced by the 'enlightened, nuanced' air they breathe on their college campus.

And, here is a related article.

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