In In Defense of a Liberal Education, Fareed Zakaria writes that learning "how to write clearly, how to express yourself convincingly, and how to think analytically" are the prime virtues of education. These are almost exactly what many of us at small liberal-arts colleges hope for our own students as well.
Clearly, we’re onto something of timeless value. We had best keep at it without apology or deviation.
This of course is not an easy thing. But we will shortchange our students greatly if "getting a job" is all we prepare them for. Instead, we must do for them what Mr. Zakaria says one of his professors at Yale did for him: "He made me realize that I should take my passion seriously, even without being sure what it might lead to in terms of a profession."
Tell Us What Writings Have Inspired You
College administrators and faculty members are invited to contribute to What I’m Reading by answering this question: What have you read lately that is insightful and useful to you as you think about higher education? Send submissions of 150 to 200 words to firstname.lastname@example.org. Writing guidelines can be found here.
For another president's perspective on Mr. Zakaria's book, see this essay.