From the New York Times, a piece by Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard:

American universities have long struggled to meet almost irreconcilable demands: to be practical as well as transcendent; to assist immediate national needs and to pursue knowledge for its own sake; to both add value and question values. And in the past decade and a half, such conflicting and unbounded expectations have yielded a wave of criticism on issues ranging from the cost of college to universities’ intellectual quality to their supposed decline into unthinking political correctness. […]

Since the 1970s there has been a steep decline in the percentage of students majoring in the liberal arts and sciences, and an accompanying increase in preprofessional undergraduate degrees. Business is now by far the most popular undergraduate major, with twice as many bachelor’s degrees awarded in this area than in any other field of study. In the era of economic constraint before us, the pressure toward vocational pursuits is likely only to intensify.

The rest is here. I was especially intrigued by the add value/question value aspect; it strikes me as a remarkable yet utterly accurate contradiction.

Facebooktwitter
Print  •  Email