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The Liberal Arts May Not Survive the 21st Century

By The Atlantic

Wisconsin built a public higher-education system that was admired around the world. But it may not withstand a tech-hungry economyRead full story

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  • With my degree in semiotics and philosophy of language, I should be really scared. But I’m an optimist and I would keep it as simple as possible.

    People cutting investments on liberal arts today, in the era of AI, demonstrate poor management skills and even less strategic acumen. On a marketing perspective

    With my degree in semiotics and philosophy of language, I should be really scared. But I’m an optimist and I would keep it as simple as possible.

    People cutting investments on liberal arts today, in the era of AI, demonstrate poor management skills and even less strategic acumen. On a marketing perspective, most problems we’re facing today are due to unmet needs for a wider education, designed for generalists who understand both liberal arts and STEM disciplines (with different mixes, of course).

    That’s not destiny: it’s a business decision. And it can be reversed.

  • Liberal arts will endure if it exits the university system and becomes a part of life long learning.

    Paying 100k to read the classics and then never pick them up for the rest of your life is not an education, especially if you are in debt and jobless.

    Paying 30k to learn a skill, and then periodically

    Liberal arts will endure if it exits the university system and becomes a part of life long learning.

    Paying 100k to read the classics and then never pick them up for the rest of your life is not an education, especially if you are in debt and jobless.

    Paying 30k to learn a skill, and then periodically joining classics book discussion groups once you graduate is an education, especially if you are not in debt and have a job.

    Liberal arts has always been about time. If you have enough time to read for hours then you can do it anywhere, for no cost at all. Time requires offsetting a career for a period, which is hard to do if you are in debt and jobless, but easy to do if you are not in debt and have a job.

  • Consider what it really means to change a university’s mission from a “search for truth” to “meet the state’s workforce needs.” I have seen this emerge in many places globally, and the deeper implications for knowledge and fundamental research are chilling and existential.

  • It may be a short term benefit to prepare people for changes in business and and jobs but and this is a big but that jobs and careers we continue to be disrupted by change and we are in the early stage of this change. With rapid change liberal arts may actually be most beneficial as it teaches you to

    It may be a short term benefit to prepare people for changes in business and and jobs but and this is a big but that jobs and careers we continue to be disrupted by change and we are in the early stage of this change. With rapid change liberal arts may actually be most beneficial as it teaches you to think and to adjust to change. As David Bois wife once said when ask how her husband could handle a second amendment case which he had never handled. She responded he can read and think while the second amendment is not that long.

  • Let’s think a little bit about how we got here. Because analytical thinking ability is a main tenant of a liberal arts education, it seems appropriate.

    The rational behind the budget cuts, which are gutting liberal arts departments across the country, are in the name of promoting skills that will translate

    Let’s think a little bit about how we got here. Because analytical thinking ability is a main tenant of a liberal arts education, it seems appropriate.

    The rational behind the budget cuts, which are gutting liberal arts departments across the country, are in the name of promoting skills that will translate into economic growth. And it’s true, STEM—especially in the era of digital economies, is what drives growth.

    But it strikes me that encouraging economic growth, should be EQUALLY as important as protecting again economic collapse. While those skills may drive growth, it is an education of history, civics, literature, and the arts, which prevent the societal and political unrest that can unravel the global economy (i.e. how nationalism and populists are damaging global trade).

    To maintain a stable civilization, we must seek growth, but also protect against the forces that would undo it.

  • Interesting. But there’s a very minor change in the number of liberal arts degrees being awarded here - it was near zero already.

    The difference for a liberal arts student is that they will need to attend a different campus. The degrees are no longer offered at this one location. They are still offered

    Interesting. But there’s a very minor change in the number of liberal arts degrees being awarded here - it was near zero already.

    The difference for a liberal arts student is that they will need to attend a different campus. The degrees are no longer offered at this one location. They are still offered and that lone history major may be better off in classes with some peers.

    While it’s still sad to see the decline in liberal arts it really goes back a little over 100 years, when we first really started aligning majors with workforce needs. But also sad is the number of kids with a degree and debt but no marketable skills.

    It would be great to see some organizations endow scholarships for liberal arts, at least a passion degree could be obtained without the shackles of massive debt.

  • As a retired CPA with a Masters in Finance and a limited liberal arts education, I have learned an enormous amount and gained new perspectives on world events since my retirement when I started reading more classical literature, history and science. The value of liberal arts as a component of public

    As a retired CPA with a Masters in Finance and a limited liberal arts education, I have learned an enormous amount and gained new perspectives on world events since my retirement when I started reading more classical literature, history and science. The value of liberal arts as a component of public education is invaluable and I only wish I had devoted more time to liberal arts studies during my career.

  • Ars longa.

  • Regardless, of one’s major, you can benefit from exposure to liberal arts. Just don’t put all your time in it, if you expect a job when you graduate.

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