leon botstein   The American College: The Next 50 Years  
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  Over the next 50 years, the American college must strive to achieve a serious level of general education in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. But that will not be enough to fulfill the potential and the obligations of our colleges and universities. First and foremost, these institutions should avoid becoming dominated by commerce and a narrow definition of utility. Their primary goal should be to reinvigorate the link between education and democracy and to spur the creation of services to the public and the cultural life of communities. They should orchestrate a resurgence of interest among Americans in pursuing careers in science and scholarship, and inspire new arenas and methods of inquiry.

Colleges must fight for the preservation of freedom in society by ensuring that the citizenry is neither thoughtless nor speechless. Conferring degrees upon millions of Americans will not be enough. In the next century, colleges will need to move beyond facile arguments about standards and canons and determine how students born in the coming decades can achieve the ideals of liberal learning.

If the full potential of the American college is realized in the next century, it will become our society's center of cultural activity, creativity, debate, service, and political exchange.

What do you think about the future of the American college? Discuss in our Bulletin Board.
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Copyright © 1997 Leon Botstein.