Un Début dans la Vie Humaine (A Start in Life): Liberal Education and the Modern University
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As students increasingly make the choice to attend university for their higher education, their lives are forever shaped by their experiences inside and outside of the classroom. My paper aims to determine the state of liberal education in the context of the rise of STEM fields, online learning, and economic pressures in political society. With an analysis of works by Aristotle, John Dewey, Michael Oakeshott and Leo Strauss, this paper develops a dialogue around the basis and tensions of liberal education. Robert M. Hutchins, Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly bring forth the importance of the Great Books to that conversation. A public interview with President of Wesleyan University, Michael S. Roth, extends the discussion to today’s university. My paper concludes with an investigation into Boston University. Using multivariate regression, this study finds peculiarities about the influence of several goals of liberation education on feelings about future jobs. Additional content analysis reveals student understandings of liberal education, motivations for attending school as well as impactful courses and books. My ultimate hope is for administrators and faculty to preserve the vision of liberal education by demonstrating its ability to prepare students to graduate as moral citizens and professionals, as human beings moving towards their full potentials.