The Great Connections Seminar

The Great Connections Seminar
Discussing ethics

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Professionalization and the Liberal Arts

I frequently listen to Chicago classical music station WFMT. And frequently I hear ads for the Masters of Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago. It must make them beaucoup bucks - especially because these classes are filled with wealthy, retired or professional people.

The rush to professionalize in college leaves many wealthy, but dissatisfied at middle age. Others quit their profession in disgust, distraught that they had wasted so many years on work they disliked.  

Instead - why not take the time to learn about your possibilities when young, with your whole life ahead of you, and no debt or responsibilities? Study the liberal arts in college!


RJO said...

It would be great if more traditional-aged undergraduates did have greater exposure to the liberal arts. On the other hand, if every university were to establish a Great Books master's program for returning adults, it might help to keep some of us unemployed liberal arts people out of the poorhouse!

(Imagine if all the thousands and thousands of M.Ed.'s of dubious quality were replaced by core-curricular M.A.'s. I've even thought that it would be magnificent if most community colleges offered a special degree program in the Great Books, perhaps an expanded version of the Clemente Course. They might even start to steal some business away from the University of Chicago.)

Marsha Familaro Enright said...

I like your idea! The M.Ed's might actually learn content of great importance to teach their students.

By the way, Wright Junior College in Chicago has a Great Books program, which has had phenomenal success not only in attracting students, but in changing their lives.

The New York Times had an article about it some years ago. Let me know if you want a copy.

RJO said...

To show that we're all part of the Zeitgeist, Inside Higher Ed has a story today on a community college Great Books program, and I appended a comment to it:

I tried to link back to this thread, but IHE has just redesigned its site and it's very buggy -- my browser crashed twice in posting that single comment, so I had to abandon the link. But you might want to comment on it yourself.

Marsha Familaro Enright said...

Thanks RJO (do I know you outside of this context?) - I'm blogging about it now!

RJO said...

> do I know you outside of this context?

Only through your linking to my Collegiate Way website, for which I'm grateful.

Marsha Familaro Enright said...

That is one fabulous website. I'm so grateful for it, because, in my quest to open a new liberal arts college, I am constantly defending it against the idea of going online.

When I first read it, I thought it was an official website of a set of colleges! You've done a wonderful job.

RJO said...

> When I first read it, I thought it was an official website of a set of colleges!

Well I'm glad I've made an imposing appearance. :-)

Just another unemployed reformer, a generation ahead of his time.