Only when we see and hear people who are now in medicine, finance, film making, technology, and public service, who continue to find lasting significance in their liberal arts education, will we come to understand where true value lies.
Sure, we have to pay attention to what our graduates will do with their education, and we must give them the skills to translate what they learn in classrooms to their lives after graduation. But we shouldn't reduce our understanding of "their lives after graduation" to their very first job.
Yale asserts that there's no fire in its Singapore venture, but, if that's true, why say so much that's false? In an undertaking as fragile as liberal education, the cover-up can be worse than the crime.
One of the wonderful things about teaching through conversation is that we get to help our students unplug from the inputs they have customized to reinforce their own tastes, expectations and identities.
The thousands of students traveling with their families across the country this month will go to classes and athletic contests, musical performances and parties. And they will ask themselves: Can I see myself as part of this community? Would I be happy here?
The Yale-NUS college train has left the station, according to this spin, and while some dissidents may have hoped to derail it by dancing a dance of protest, those who understand how the world really works will now get on with doing that work.
The very survival of the new global economy and public sphere depends on colleges like Yale standing somewhat apart from "the arts and sciences of career management" that markets and states have insinuated increasingly into their training at places like Yale.
Few university courses generate much attention from mainstream media, but Georgetown Professor Michael Eric Dyson's course "The Sociology of Hip-Hop: Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z" has drawn national attention.
I am hopeful that those who will shape the future will also have cultivated the ability to renew the pantheon of great work from the past -- to travel through different times and places to renew the possibilities for alternative futures.
The rise of inter-disciplinarity has not diminished the hyper-specialization in the academy, and the resultant pursuit of status through esoteric language has deepened the gulf between humanists and the public.
Patient and persistent critical inquiry has never been as crucial as it is in these uncertain economic times, and the development of this capacity is one of the defining features of a liberal education.