The national outlook on higher education, it appears, is changing. Growingly, the public is asking for a transparent approach to the technique universities report their costs and salary data of recent alumni. The image of rising student debt is leading the college-bound and their parents to focus ever more on the payoff they can be expecting from a college degree.
The public and the president have weighed in. There is irrefutable concern from prospective students, who want to know if their degrees would translate into solid job prospects and healthy starting salaries. A number of universities have expressed reluctance to reveal such information, citing the burden of collecting and reporting an entire new set of data, all focused on price.
We might become too focused on the bottom line and not enough on the value of a liberal-arts education.
At Lehigh University, for case, this groundswell of support for price and salary data is greeted with pride. We are not anxious about publishing such data. We before now do so on our website, as do many of our peers. In its place, the concern is this- as universities must keep and disclose these data as one vital piece of information that prospective students and their families requirement, there is still so much more to a liberal-arts education.
It is surely about more than price and return-on-investment. These are expensive data points, clearly. However the value of a house does not represent value of your home. A home is what you make of it, as is higher education. It is a framework for your life, where memories are formed, lifelong friends are met and you mature into your own person. While we discuss the state of higher education with my colleagues at other schools or our students, faculty and staff what we talk about more than salary data is value.
The value of a liberal-arts education lies in over meeting salary standards. We should not lose sight of what makes American higher-education system unique. At its best, the liberal-arts education should-
>> Get ready students with the creativity and critical-thinking skills needed to meet the challenges of the future, some of which do not up till now have job descriptions.
>> Supply greater access to students from a variety of incomes, backgrounds and interests. To achieve more as a nation means more of our population should experience the excitement of discovery.
>> Organize students who want to design bridges or open new markets with the same rigor as those who wish to be engineers. The world's most cost-effective companies blend a variety of skills into their workforce.
>> Be adamant upon interdisciplinary work, as a result future business leaders can work fluidly with their R&D or marketing teams.
>> Encourage entrepreneurship even in liberal arts, so that our nation's graduates and mid-career professionals consider creating a job before simply filling one.
>> Foster an attitude of lifelong learning in a world progressively more open to the curious.
>> Join you with your community and cultivate in you a life of gratitude and service to others, a cornerstone of the well-lived life.
>> Partner with industry and other colleges to anticipate changes in the workforce. Our curriculum has to be fluid, yet tailored to what industry experts say is on horizon.
>> Encourage students to follow their interests that will unavoidably lead to citizens inspired by their passions a more powerful engine than marketable skills.
>> Provide a diversifying, mind-opening knowledge. New people, new cultures and a global perspective assist build global citizens, who in turn help resolve global problems.
Good universities plan students for more than just a payday. At the very least, they have to prepare a student for multiple jobs throughout his or her lifetime. While it is easier to track graduation rates and starting salaries and they make for a fine start, we require keeping in mind that some things cannot be measured as with any trouble. And so far they are frequently the things we most remember as college graduates, the things that make us rich in life that are hallmarks of education enhancement not necessarily of the bottom line however of humanity.