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The future of the liberal arts: badges and skills? #highered #.edu #liberalarts

September 24, 2012

I predict that we will see some  liberal arts colleges (most likely those that do not breath the rare air of the top  50)  do the following in the next few years:*

1. Establish an Institute of the Liberal Arts within their campuses to create a meaningful symbol of the liberal arts and a college’s commitment. These “institutes” will focus attention on preserving the liberal arts and humanities and will create a centralized power structure to defend the liberal arts and humanities in an era of increasing professional orientation and STEM focus of liberal arts colleges nationwide.

2. These “institutes” will “take over” the general education program and will redefine the core curriculum in remarkable ways.

3. These “institutes” will redefine the outcomes of what the liberal arts accomplishes on a college campus. The refocusing of the liberal arts is likely to  establish criteria each course in the general education program meets that directly relates to the outcomes of a liberal arts education (critical thinking, creative thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, communication, intercultural/generational communication, social and political engagement, etc). The general education program will become more “skills-based,” rather than content based, and will enable content from a wide range of subject areas to meet the skill standards necessary to fulfill what the liberal arts should teach, etc. 

4. These “institutes” will redefine the “currency” of completing the liberals arts and will offer “badges” for successfully fulfilling the designated skills in each area of the liberal arts that the “institute” on each campus believes represents its version of the liberal arts. 

5. Skill badges will be offered to a broader spectrum of students, including engineers, business grads, etc. who did not have a “liberal arts” education. Badge fulfillment will become a new revenue stream and offering badges will add value to the ideal of what the liberal arts do, etc. 

My crystal ball…

Thoughts? Ideas? 

W. Kent Barnds @bowtieadmission

*The beauty of the crystal ball that I have is that is can change any time.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2012 7:29 pm

    I think all students should have to sew their own badges on to their sashes and not rely on their moms to do so. LOL

  2. Frank P. permalink
    September 25, 2012 3:19 pm

    A rose by any other name…! The “General Education” or whatever version of the term, has been the focus of innumerable “revisions” since the 50′s!

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