Liberal Arts Colleges Debated

Editor, News-Register:

I’d like to comment on the article by Bethany College President Scott Miller, in your paper on May 22.

I recognize that the president’s job is to be an advocate of his institution. However, I would like to offer my comments after reading his article.

The president recognizes that recently the value of the liberal arts education has been questioned. He offers a number of reasons why this “may” not be true. (But I suggest, in fact, it may be true.)

First, he suggests that Bethany’s liberal arts curriculum offers their students the ability to “write, think, analyze, investigate, to roam purposefully the range of knowledge and endeavor, and adapt to the ever-shifting career marketplace.”

Next, he suggests that students “can ill afford to be ignorant of the world’s peoples, their cultures and their aspirations.”

Finally, he states that important national issues “underscore the value of ethical awareness, discussion, and decision-making.”

His offerings suggest that unless the student obtains a liberal arts education, like offered at Bethany, they will not enjoy these important characteristics.

I see no reason why graduates of business, engineering, or science curriculums can not be expected to share these characteristics. One important reason for this is that the education process extends decades beyond the college or university experience. I personally believe that the knowledge obtained after graduation dwarfs that obtained while a student. The college diploma merely indicates a minimum qualification for future learning.

Furthermore, I opine that the non-liberal arts education graduates do have a distinct advantage. While the writings of Shakespeare never change, business, engineering, and science skills rapidly do, and if you are not up to date, you are not going to find employment, which will allow you the time, after hours, to enjoy the writings of Shakespeare, educate yourself in other areas, and study other peoples and their cultures.

Kent Folgate