Public universities are at a crossroads in the state of Kentucky. In these difficult financial times, we must decide what sort of education we should provide to our students. If we wish to create a true, world class, public university system we need to give our colleges liberal arts curriculum while also preparing college students for a competitive twenty first century job market.
The reason we need to train more skilled workers is simple – the state’s economy requires it. Kentucky’s economy is lagging, and the condition government’s limited financial resources are quickly drying up. The best way to stimulate economic growth is through the production of skilled laborers who will make it attractive for businesses in order to bring jobs to Kentucky. Not only does this sort of education help drive Kentucky’s unemployment rate down while driving upward its average wages, but it furthermore renews itself. If a lot more jobs come to Kentucky, it will increase tax revenue plus therefore allow the state to better fund higher education.
The argument I just outlined will be clear to most people. What is less obvious is how a liberal arts education is as important as a technical schooling. A liberal arts education and learning broadens the mind through an interdisciplinary study of great books, history, art and music. It is intended to cultivate a level of critical thinking plus self-understanding that is simply not provided in more hands-on fields.
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Even though the liberal artistry education does not produce jobs or directly benefit one’s ability to serve within the workforce, this benefits people in all careers inside a very tangible way. Critical thinking skills are useful in any field, whether it be an engineer or a doctor. A recent AACU& U poll showed that most professionals, particularly in the tech industry and engineering, are seeking employees with some generous arts background that they believe makes them better at crucial thinking.
One of the things that sets human beings apart from robots is our own capability to make value judgments and think in a complicated critical method. Providing every student along with a liberal arts training therefore makes them instantly more marketable and useful in the workforce.
A more informed citizenry
The liberal disciplines education also contributes to the more knowledgeable citizenry. By studying the best regime through the writings of great thinkers, learners become much better equipped to understand our own regime. Through studying the particular history of our nation, plus our civilization more broadly, students better understand where the problems all of us face today originate. This gives them the skills to much better articulate solutions to these problems. It is in the interest of every American that we all have as many citizens as possible who understand our politics and wish to help the country in an informed way.
Blending these two approaches to education would require Kentucky’s state universities to make major reforms in order to their program. Our schools would need to revise their general education courses. Instead associated with the veritable buffet of largely useless classes offered to most students to fulfill their general education requirements, our universities should mandate that will students take a broad array associated with courses inside every field so that they learn the most important ideas in math, philosophy, history, civics, art and so on.
Upon completing this particular liberal arts core of classes Kentucky students may then enter into any associated with the numerous programs that provide them with the tools to enter the labor force upon graduation. Fields such as bio-medical science, space science, architectural or nursing.
It is usually within the interest of Kentucky that we primarily produce job ready degrees, but also that will every single one of the graduates in these types of fields have a deep understanding associated with foundational ideas provided by the particular liberal artistry. With this kind of an educational standard Kentucky cannot assist but become the shining star of an economically invigorated South.
Jeffery Tyler Syck is a native of Pike County, Kentucky. He is currently a Ph. D. candidate at the University of Virginia in American politics plus political theory.