Choi Byung-hwa (2018131242)
Academic English = 2 * ROMAN II (Chinese language and literature)
5 November 2018
Liberal Arts Programs should not be eliminated in Universities
In the recent times, many institutions of higher learning have been giving little attention to liberal arts and humanity departments within their institutions. Others have completely scrapped off these courses and degree programs from their universities. Breneman states that it is very worrying to see learning institutions trying to fight humanities which provide the basic foundations for human beings existence. Imagine a situation where we have a qualified aeronautical engineer who does not understand the historical narrative of his country or community. Imagine how the world could be without literature and philosophy. How boring could it be living in a world where Shakespeare and other notable literal legends were not given the chance to showcase their talents and mastery of fictional writing? Although liberal arts critics suggest that these degree programs have little economic benefits towards the government and the society in general, by eliminating them from the university system is equal to killing or endangering humanity and degrading the quality of human lives. (Breneman 75)
The proposal that was advocated for by the University of Wisconsin to reduce liberal arts and humanity majors by 13 departments not only left many students out of school but also sparked several protests in the community. The university management supported their proposal claiming that by doing so, they would create more space for high demanding courses such as the STEM (sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors. There has been a popular misconception that liberal arts and humanities are not career programs but only degrees that flood the market with numerous graduates who have limited knowledge that they can apply to contribute in the economic developments of their own countries. This is a stereotype that should cease because liberal arts graduates are as important in nation building as well as their STEM counterparts. Liberal arts promotes creativity in an individual and this can greatly influence such an individual to come up with new alternatives of performing various activities. Therefore, the individuals contribute to improve the efficiency of the society in regard to accomplishing different tasks.
A recent research conducted in 2016 that sampled over 10,000 corporate leaders from different parts of the world will shock many liberal arts and humanities critics. This study found that those corporate leaders who were liberal arts graduates performed better than their technical courses graduates’ counterparts. The research report also concluded that many of the most successful multinational organizations are led or patronized by former liberal arts students or by technical graduates who have also done some liberal arts courses. This clearly shows the relationship between liberal arts programs and successful leadership. Most non-liberal programs give little attention to other important aspects of life after school such as communication skills, etiquette and ethics. It is hardly impossible for any organization or cooperation to record any major economic transformation without effectively upholding these corporate aspects of communication and corporate ethics. By eliminating liberal courses in universities, we are directly staring at a future where they will be no robust communication channels between employees and their employers as well as a world where ethics will be a thing of the past.
Another reason why many people seem to be shunning liberal courses is the return on investment question where the concept of financial considerations crops out. Some people perceive it to be worthless to pay so dearly for subjects that will or do not influence the job placement of an individual. Modern day parents have also fallen into this trap where they are increasingly advising their children to only consider or choose those subjects that will matter when they apply for jobs. This fact have resulted to many policymakers who also double as parents start a campaign that aims at completely getting rid of humanities and liberal arts in our universities. With the increased developments and transformations that have occurred in the society over the years, every person who possesses basic education capabilities can easily get employed or absorbed in the job market since the concept of division and specialization of labor is a reality. Therefore, despite the programs that one did in the university, the various corporations and organizations have chances and vacancies that fit each graduate. How many psychologists have been employed by various hospitals to help in the treatment of patients with several mental illnesses such as depression?
From the above discussion, it is clearly evident that liberal arts and humanities programs are as important and useful as the STEM programs. This implies that by eliminating the liberal courses from our learning institutions, there will be a one-dimensional society that does not fully address all aspects of the society; political social and economic. In order to achieve a harmonious society that gives equal regard to all aspects of the society, it is therefore important for both the national and international education stakeholders to stress and advocate for the need of liberal arts and humanities in our schools. According to my personal point of view, we should formulate a new education model that teaches both liberal arts and humanities concurrently with other programs thus making our system robust and inclusive. Finally, by eliminating liberal arts programs from our universities, we are gradually endangering and threatening humanity.
Breneman, David W. Liberal arts colleges: Thriving, surviving, or endangered? Brookings Institution Press, 2010.