...Students come to college and take two years of courses that often have no coherent plan behind them. This is the legacy of a decision Harvard made many decades ago. Just let students decide what to take in the first two years. The plan proved attractive to many administrators and faculty members because it is flexible and very easy to service. Robert Hutchins, former dean of the Yale Law School and then president of the University of Chicago, fought hard for a different vision of higher education. He believed that you could identify a core of the best that has been thought and said and written and that you could give students a powerful and edifying experience learning the great books and the great ideas. It was out of his vision that the famous series of volumes published for many years by the Encyclopedia Brittanica company was born. While he prevailed for a time at his own school, for the most part, this rigorous version of the liberal arts was lost to history. It was something the great universities used to do...Excerpt 2:
...If we study the great books, the great ideas, then we have understanding when we talk about things like liberty, equality, freedom, responsibility, and accountability. Without understanding, we simply walk around like dolls with strings in our side that we pull out and say, “Freedom is good. Equality is good. Responsibility is good.” Fine, we can say it. But do we know what we are talking about?...Excerpt 3:
...I think the best of higher education is a hybrid. The ideal training for a young person living in a free society, I believe, consists of a strong foundation in the liberal arts and professional training. The student learns how to think, how to value the important things in life, and what it means to be free. And the student also learns how to do something good and productive professionally. Accounting is a brilliant example. How great is it to train an accountant who loves the truth, understands the rights and freedoms so hard won by those who went before us, and is a darn good accountant? I want to hire that accountant!!!...