Stanley Fish over at the NYT has an interesting post about the decline of the humanities (i.e., art history, literature, philosophy) at American universities because of their perceived uselessness. As an applicant to a liberal arts school, I definitely had to defend to my parents why I wasn’t obtaining a more useful education but I think I felt then what I later did to a greater degree as a graduate: that college was not about information but about knowledge. While I hadn’t been primed for a specific job, I had the critical thinking and reasoning skills that a lot of people don’t obtain after paying $120,000 for college. Fish, himself a professor, paints a rather bleak picture:
John Sperling, founder of the group that gave us Phoenix University, is refreshingly blunt: “Coming here is not a rite of passage. We are not trying to develop value systems or go in for that ‘expand their minds’” nonsense.
Full article: The Last Professor (Stanley Fish, NY Times)