We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Monday, December 5. 2016
In my provincial New England bubble-world, there was no awareness of vocational higher-ed other than the Major of pre-med, and Engineering. I guess I had vaguely heard of Ag schools but never heard of a "business major". It might be my ignorance, but it seems to me that a proliferation of vocationally-oriented higher ed programs has altered the historical meaning and purpose of "higher-ed." Perhaps I am a dinosaur.
To what extent does it make sense for higher ed to be vocationally-oriented? Much of it already is. But can educational institutions even judge what sorts of training will be of value in the future? Educating the workplace.
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Yep that's New England Bubbleword for you. But you are wrong with regard to the Ivy's. They are thinly disguised grand Ecole's selling access to high levels of government and state protected finance.
A few years ago I looked at Yale's distribution of undergraduate majors and was sorely disappointed. Not only were there only a handful of "Studies" majors, but also a tiny amount of estoteric majors like obscure languages and arts. The biggest chunks were bio/pre-med, Political Science, economics, and history (read pre-law). So while the SJW are allowed to have their fun the real job of turning out a governing class continues year by year. So just a glorified trade school after all and not for a particularly honest trade.
Dear Fellow Dinosaur,
The college years of my memory (at a small liberal arts college in Pennsylvania) area movie-like memory of an idyllic time. Four years in which to enrich the mind with the best of Western thought. There were girls, too, and parties, and hours-long bull sessions in the grill and in the dorms, sports and well... it was a wonderful time. There were those around me who intended to become doctors, businessmen, engineers, scientists -- eventually. But that was part of the "real world" that lay ahead. I, an indifferent scholar, often look back and wish I had learned more (about Shakespeare, or Horace, Ruskin, Bunyan etc.) at the time. But I have enjoyed them ever since and more, because I learned how to learn, and appreciate what I learned. What happened to the idea of bringing an education TO your profession or field of endeavor? What happened to the idea of not being merely a doctor, but an educated doctor?
so what stopped you from learning more about shakespeare, ruxpin or whoever after graduation? what knowledge is there in kollege that you can't find elsewhere?
except for the certification fetish necessary for some jobs, the high horse and the beer/football/chicks, what's so special about it?
Nothing "stopped" me from learning more -- even about "ruxpin" -- after graduation. Please re-read what I wrote. I'm still learning and enjoying more of what I learn, even though it is sometimes hard to read the small print from up here on my high horse.
What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books.
Higher Ed today entails so many more things than it seemed to in the elite colleges that I was familiar with as a lad. They were mostly general education/acculturation/cultural transmission schools for gentlemen (separate schools for ladies) with majors which often had nothing to do with any planned vocation.
that's because there wasn't much to actually learn during the Spanish-American War. Law or medicine you could pick up from a few heavy books.
Nowadays, there isn't much to actually learn, everything you need to know you learn on the job.
Kollege is for beer, chicks and football and the certain knowledge that you're better than everyone else. which, to a large degree, is true.
Starting about 40 years ago, the universities, even the elite ones, discovered they couldn't sell that crap anymore. Sure you could feel all superior, but you couldn't make good money on it. Well, not on what you went to school for and increasingly not because you'd graduated either.
My brother graduated from the flagship state school in 1976, with a degree in history or something. He had a shot at a junior exec job at the phone company, but rathered a lineman job, for which he was deemed unsuitable for as a college graduate. He became a carpenter, well-read carpenter, but still a carpenter due to his childhood connections with men who built houses.
Four years later when I was entering college, I knew better than to waste my shot on a useless degree, as a poor person, I needed to improve my job prospects. So it was engineering for me, but arrogance arose and I went for a "liberal arts in science", i.e., Physics. Learned a lot, and having the calculus and basic physics turned out handy for a job later on. But Physics does not impress in the general job search, where hiring is done by business majors or engineers. And by the mid-1980s, they were hiring for what you could add to the company, not some anachronistic junior exec training program.
The world changed, the elite liberal arts found that they were uncompetitive in the wider middle-class student market, where the student needed to improve their employment prospects as much or more their esoteric, preening knowledge prospects.
This goes double when you are taking on debt for the "education". What idiot takes out a loan to learn what they can learn from reading and that won't help their job skills? And these days, most of what is extorted from the student as part of the "degree" is a complete intellectual waste of time and effort, which is how students apply themselves to those tasks. Downside, that apathy for the "required" bleeds over into the courses that add value to the student and are worth the effort.
The problem is that most of what passes for a 'liberal arts education' today is nothing more than an excellent high school degree -- English, languages, sciences, mathematics, history. Even the colleges admit this, granting a lot of credit for high school AP classes.
The other problem is to portray STEM, business and healthcare majors as absent or lacking in liberal arts course (when, i fact, they take plenty of serious liberal arts course), while the liberal arts 'majors' are piling on those 'studies' courses and courses that forty years ago no self-respecting liberal arts college would allow in their catalog.
The liberal arts elites are using their expensive credentialing to pass along the wealthy into daddy's business, politics, law school, grad school or, in some cases, medicine.
Finally, the problem is that there are too many people in college who want it cheap, easy and fun, and way too many politicians and college administrators who are willing to provide same in exchange for support from the state, alums, or sky-high tuition.
A life without a career is not much of a life. You can have it all -- a life, a career and an education. You just have to work at it, not just ask for it, dream about it, demand it, or reminisce about it. And, BTW, an undergraduate business degree -- outside accounting -- is nothing at all like a professional degree or a vocational program.
"They were mostly general education/acculturation/cultural transmission schools for gentlemen (separate schools for ladies) with majors which often had nothing to do with any planned vocation."
That's because you guys didn't need to learn anything useful to earn a living. You already had the family money and/or connections to get sinecure.
The rest of us actually have to have something to offer to an employer.