The Decline of the Well Rounded Education

About a week ago, on her personal Facebook page Claire posted a Huffington Post opinion piece about why this particular gentleman prefers English majors to business majors. I kind of laughed a bit, because the post was so general you could put basically anything except business majors in place of English majors and the article wouldn’t change. But it did get me thinking more about the role of humanities in our educational system.

I am a technology major. I received a Bachelor of Science in Informatics, and my concentration was and English. Informatics initially because I couldn’t pass my math prerequisites, but eventually because I realized I like the more applied side of computing. English because I thought I wanted to be a technical writer (thankfully internships made me realize quickly that no, that’s not what I wanted to do). And while I did find out that I wasn’t quite suited for the world of technical writing and wish I had more technical skills, I am still glad I chose English as my concentration because it enhanced my ability to communicate.

If you look at traditional technology degrees like engineering or computer science [Both are PDFs] you only see three or four required humanities courses. And few electives to squeeze them into if a student so chooses. This is sad. While obviously we all go to college to study something we’re passionate about. and it’s important that we are prepared to enter the workforce a well rounded education only enhances our abilities. History, writing, literature, philosophy, these are all important concepts of which we should have a working knowledge.

The reverse is true as well. If you’re going through a Liberal Arts [PDF] program, you should have to take more than a basic math course. You should be challenged. I’d go as far to say you should have to take an introductory programming class. Computers run the world, and there’s no excuse to come out of college without a basic idea of how they work.

When the arts are removed from high school, we are shocked and saddened. When high school students struggle in math, we wonder why. But when either of these are true in the collegiate setting we just brush it off as “oh they’re science majors,” or “they’re liberal arts majors” they don’t need that. We’re moving towards college being a place where you learn a skill, not a place where you get an education. And that needs to be changed.

6 Responses to “The Decline of the Well Rounded Education”
  1. JP LaFrance says:
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