Week 2: Well rounded students

I think that the role of the university changes depending on what stage of higher education you are currently in. At the bachelors level, I think the university has an obligation to produce well rounded students that have spent only slightly more time specializing in a single subject or trade. Focusing on a well rounded education is key to producing graduates who can function well in the real world both within and outside of their selected specialties. Treating college as a fancy trade school for white collar jobs will eventually turn it into just that. Plus, in many careers and jobs much of the information that needs to be known on the job will be taught through on the job training, and mentorships.

Serious specialization should be left to graduate degrees. Once a student has a well rounded basis and an introduction to their selected specialization they can choose to return to school to further specialize in a specific subject or skill.

As for the role of the university in society, the production of well rounded citizens will ultimately benefit society as a whole. Students with well rounded educations and honed critical thinking skills will be better able to assess and analyze the world around them andĀ  change it for the better. This can pertain to social issues, economic issues, political issues, etc.

Research institutions, I believe, are going to have a hard time balancing the amount of attention it devotes to teaching and mentoring it’s undergraduate body when there is so much emphasis placed on research. ThisĀ  balancing act that, while tricky, must be addressed to ensure that the students are receiving a sound education, while still fulfilling its obligations to research.

3 Replies to “Week 2: Well rounded students”

  1. I totally agree with your point of view on the bachelor’s level education. Many students choose a major before they clearly know what they will actually do in the future.

  2. I think you brought up an important point about balancing teaching and researching in the research universities. Because sometimes the professors are all invested in research and bringing funds to the university since that is what the university expects them to focus on, and that is why they don’t have enough time and motivation to pay as much time as needed for teaching.

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