Interesting essay on the changes in a liberal arts education.

Take two political science majors at almost any elite college or university: It is quite possible for them to graduate without ever having read the same book or studied the same materials. One student may meet his general distribution requirements by taking classes in geophysics and physiological psychology, the sociology of the urban poor and introduction to economics, and the American novel and Japanese history while concentrating on international relations inside political science and writing a thesis on the dilemmas of transnational governance. Another political science major may fulfill the university distribution requirements by studying biology and astronomy, the sociology of the American West and abnormal psychology, the feminist novel and history of American film while concentrating in comparative politics and writing a thesis on the challenge of integrating autonomous peoples in Canada and Australia. Both students will have learned much of interest but little in common. Yet the little in common they learn may be of lasting significance. For both will absorb the implicit teaching of the university curriculum, which is that there is nothing in particular that an educated person need know.

Is this true at Williams? No. Is it more true than it was 25 years ago? Yes.

Are you worried about that trend?

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