Beyond The University, Why Liberal Education Matters by Michael Roth
Yesterday we dropped off our kids at Wesleyan University. The President of Wesleyan University is Michael Roth. At the end of the day he speaks to the parents before they all depart leaving their children to begin their life as a student a Wesleyan. This would have been the third time we saw Michael speak to the parents but the truth is we never showed up for the other two. This time we went to hear the wrap up. I am really glad we went. Having the head of the University speak about the experience that your child is about to embark on is powerful.
Michael’s last book which came out a few months ago is called Beyond The University, Why Liberal Education Matters. A worthy read if you are interested in education. Bottom line is that many of the conversations we are having today about the worth of a liberal arts education started with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglas and W. E. B. DuBois. Should we be educating people for vocational instruction based on their economic background or should we embrace the concept of education where your mind can be expanded through several disciplines?
To be able to spend four years opening your mind to anything from opera to art history to computer science is inspiring. I do believe that a liberal arts education particularly a progressive one instills the skill of being a life long learner. It is not so much what happens in the four years in higher education but what you do with that knowledge once you have get out and hopefully have been intellectually transformed.
Michael Roth practices what he preaches. Education is a life long discipline. It is worth listening to the NPR piece on All Things Considered where he talks about a liberal arts education.