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skippercollector Donating Member (26 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-21-11 07:56 PM
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What will happen to liberal arts degrees?
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I have a liberal arts degree, and so does one of my sisters. Of course, that was in the 1980s. My bachelor of arts degree is in mass communications/journalism, and I worked at a newspaper for 17 years and now work in PR for a hospital. My sister has a marketing degree and works in the marketing department of a personal care products company.
Even 30 years ago, a liberal arts degree was an acceptable major. The term was very broad: journalism, marketing, psychology, anthropology, sociology, English, history, another language, even the arts themselves, etc. After you graduated, you could write or teach or assist the disadvantaged or even travel the world.
From what I understand, many (although not all) of the Occupy Wall Streeters have graduated with liberal arts degree. Even 10 years ago, you could have graduated with such a degree and found a job. But the economy crashed after the most recent liberal arts students were still in college, or just out of it, and the jobs they were studying for no longer exist.
I always thought that the purpose of a liberal arts degree was to not only to prepare you for a career but to give you an overview of the world.
But some time in the past 10 years that attitude became obsolete. The only careers that are acceptable now are in engineering or business. In the past six months I have read many disparaging remarks such as "those useless liberal arts degrees." That makes me angry.
Why is having a broad education about many topics unacceptable now? Why are people whose degrees are in engineering or business so contemptuous of those whose education is different? What will happen to the liberal arts degree in the future? Will there be a time again when it it an acceptable and useful field of study?
I realize that businesses' purpose is to make money, and to do so with as few expenses as possible (and that includes fewer employees). But what happens in the future when the business staffers no longer have the ability to write comprehensive and literate assignments because they didn't study enough of it in school? Or don't have the background to understand other cultures, other languages, even other people whose ideas simply differ from their own?
One last topic: Not everyone wants or needs to attend college. I've read much discussion about how high schools should bring back vocational education, which sounds wonderful but will take a while to implement. But what if a student were like me--not interested in mechanics or production, and just an okay student in math and science, but way off the charts in reading and writing? I honestly don't know what I would be doing at this point if I were in high school today trying to decide on a career when what I love doing is considered either obsolete or unimportant by so many today.
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