After many phone calls and postcards (yes I am old), I related to him [Dad] that a college education was to assist me in learning how to live, not get a job. He didn’t take well to my answer.
My parents were not formally educated. When I went off to University, my dad wanted to know what courses I was taking and what skill I was learning, so I could get a job that paid well. After many phone calls and postcards (yes I am old), I related to him that a college education was to assist me in learning how to live, not get a job. He didn’t take well to my answer.
If my dad were alive today he would be pleased to know that a liberal arts education is slowly fading away. Philosophy, religion, sociology, psychology, literature, social and physical sciences etc, departments are diminishing. What do we lose as these programs are downsized or eliminated?
Liberal arts does not mean ‘liberal’ in a literal sense. A liberal arts education is designed to prepare students for change, complexity and a future with many unknowns. No one knows what specific skill will be valued in the next decades for employment, but we know that critical thinking, good communication skills, a broad understanding of multiple disciplines, and ability to work with others will always be valued. Reasoning and judgment will never be replaced by technology.
A liberal arts education means looking at our culture, our environment, our way of doing things as critical thinkers and being challenged to consider who and what we want to be. It addresses reason and judgment so we can develop general intellectual capacities.
According to my dad, after I went 12 years in post-secondary education, earning three degrees, I still only have one skill – I can type (and I took that course in high school). But, I have many soft skills – and they will last forever. I can communicate, be creative, critically think and problem solve. Do not push us aside, we are useful players in this environment.
“Dear Neighbor” authors are united in a belief that civility and passion can coexist. We believe curiosity and conversation make us a better community.