The near universal failure of our universities to confront the compelling ethical and political issues intrinsic to our actions in the "war on terror" means that a generation of Americans will have their understanding shaped by the patriotic war porn of American Sniper and Zero Dark Thirty.
If you think of a college education as the stock market, what are the "value buys," what are, to paraphrase Warren Buffett, the "companies" with strong fundamentals and long track records that other investors are overlooking?
"What's your major?" is one of the most commonly asked questions of college students today. It's interesting to consider that the same question asked to one of our students in the mid-19th century would have elicited a blank stare.
My liberal arts education has given me not just the confidence that I have skills applicable to a wide variety of professional disciplines, but also an understanding that the world is bigger than just me and my paycheck and that perhaps, just perhaps, a career well spent is one giving back.
Students will not show their true stuff unless they find what their "wow" factor is. They have to find the arena -- the discipline that engages them so that they do their best work -- because it interests them. Round pegs don't go in square holes.
Some students are lucky -- they know exactly what they want to do practically from the womb. As for the rest of us, it can be a very lengthy process of self-discovery before you realize what you're meant to do.
What can you do with a degree in classics? How are you going to get a job with that degree? Many people still fail to understand what a liberal arts education is and how it translates into success in the job market.
Liberal arts colleges cannot be satisfied with simply being what they have been. I am suggesting that our greatest opportunity is to re-imagine what the liberal arts college can be for our society and for the world.