The true purpose of college and higher education

The Purpose of College

the true purpose of college and higher education

The Higher Education Bubble

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The purpose of higher education in the United States has been a topic of debate for many years. We have a year tradition of the liberal arts where colleges are focused in preparing individuals for productive contribution through character development. More recently there has been a demand that there be a greater focus on career development. It is in the resolution of this tension that we progress in improving the enterprise of higher education. In , the Assembly of the State of New York requested and received testimony on the role of New York State in commercializing research and the development of ensuing innovations. I had the opportunity to make a presentation where I made two observations and one recommendation for the work of the Assembly on appropriate policies to convert state sponsored university research into commercialized products and foster economic development in the State of New York.

Jump to navigation. When academics created various educational systems long ago in ancient Greece and China, they did not design these centers of learning for the masses. Rather, they were made for the elite: the well-endowed, prosperous citizen. These places were conceived with the ideas of wisdom and enlightenment in mind. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on one's opinion this is no longer the case in many educational facilities.

Some--few--of these goals are societal and collective; most are individual or corporate economic. People in different types of institutions and studying different topics, at different ages and in different economic conditions may have wildly different views of college. But this is really a crucial question, and it determines things as diverse as the sources of funding and measures of success. The purpose of college is multi-layered. Another group views college as the means to later success.

Purpose of College Education

What are Universities for?

The True Purpose of College and Higher Education

What is the purpose of college? Collectively, most would posit it is to prepare young adults for life and to give them the necessary tools to succeed in whichever field they wish to pursue. The administration at Xavier University keenly recognized this and decided to do something about it. Enter: Goa. Goa is a class designed to prepare college students for the aspects. Many of these students have their own purpose for coming to college, most would assume they come to college to get a degree in order to get a job.

Instead of asking whether college is worth it, we should more carefully reflect on the purpose of college. Many Americans have begun to ask whether college is worth it. Even more importantly, being clear about the purpose of college also helps us make the most of it. There is the camp that says college is about preparing a person for work — to help them get a good or better job. In fact, this is by far the most commonly cited reason for why Americans value higher education — to get a good job. The other camp says college is about more broadly preparing a person for success in life - to be an engaged and enlightened citizen capable of thinking critically and communicating clearly, ultimately able to thrive in their well-being. Make no mistake, many of us see the purpose of college as both a job-driven and a life-driven purpose.

Joshua Forstenzer, as part of his institutional role, advises the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield on matters relating to the public value of higher education. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence. When I took up this position, I could not have predicted quite how significant the question of public value would become in discussions related to higher education reform in the UK. On the one hand, efforts to further regulate UK universities into commercially competitive entities continue largely but not entirely unabated. On the other, we find ourselves in a post-Brexit and post-Trump political culture that is so divided as to make all appeals to a common ground let alone to truth in public discourse seem ridiculous in the eyes of one side or the other.

What students of the future will expect from their University education - Ross Renton - TEDxMalvern





  1. Katrina A. says:

    What’s in a name?

  2. Nicholas G. says:

  3. Clinio V. says:

    beginning to question what is the purpose of the college education system permanently linked higher education and the American dream.

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