June 6, 2016

“The objective of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.”  (Robert Maynard Hutchins, President of The University of Chicago, 1929-1945 and Chancellor, 1945-1951)

Today, St. John’s College in Annapolis is most often associated with a continuing commitment to many of Hutchins’ ideas, particularly his emphasis on “The Great Books.”

And interestingly, an article in The Washington Post by Daniel de Vise featured Christopher Nelson, President of St. John’s College who gives us a good idea of Hutchins, “objective of education”:

“ In an era when many recession-scarred parents have come to view college as a path to a higher income bracket, Nelson dares to define it as the route to a life well-lived.

 ‘As important as the world of work is to us, we don’t live in order to get a job,’ he told an audience in San Francisco this year. ‘But we work in order to make it possible for us to live a good life.’”  (“At St. John’s, a Defender of Liberal Arts”)

 Wikipedia defines “Liberal Arts” as “a curriculum that imparts general knowledge and develops the student’s rational thought and intellectual capabilities, unlike the professional, vocational, and technical curricula emphasizing specialization.

It is from such a liberal arts education that tomorrow’s leaders evolve.

In order to think fully through the many issues that confront our planet, one must be able to reason with a degree of sophistication.  And the lateral thought process – not the linear one – will provide the clearest path.

It is the liberal arts student who confronts varying ideas and nuances, so necessary to future leadership and societal advancement.

Unfortunately for many today, “the specialization of American education has robbed students of the ability to communicate with other students outside of their field. . . . a student of biology cannot converse meaningfully with a student of mathematics because they share no common educational experience.”  (Hutchins)

Why a Liberal Arts Education?  That’s why!

More on Wednesday –  –

     — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning

      www.itclearning.com/blog/  (Mondays & Wednesdays)

 (This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner, jhbillwalton@gmail.com, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)