Regional Colleges Have Long Been Pursuing Efforts to Make Graduates Robot-Proof

To the Editor:

In Steve Kolowich’s recent interview with MIT’s Andrew McAfee, Mr. McAfee calls for an educational system that “excels at producing people to do the things that computers can’t do: figure out what problem to tackle next, work as part of a team to solve it, and have compassion for others and the ability to coordinate, motivate, persuade, and negotiate,” (‘Those Jobs Are Gone,’ The Chronicle, April 30). Maybe MIT is producing students that, like robots, can only “read, write, and do some math, and . . . follow the voice of authority,” which is how he characterizes current higher education, but the characteristics McAfee calls for are exactly the things that modern liberal education has been pursuing for the last quarter century, aided by organizations such as the AAC&U, particularly in the non-elite regional public and private universities that educate most Americans. Our students — from business to biology to English — are working in teams to learn and practice these skills and attributes from the moment they arrive, whether they are traditional undergraduates, adult learners earning certificates, or somewhere in between. Maybe that’s why our university has a 95 percent job-placement rate.

David P. Haney
Centenary University
Hackettstown, N.J.

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