At the D.C. Newseum a policy summit sponsored by the National Journal and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Cathrael Kazin, chief academic officer with the University of Southern New Hampshire, said that this issue “is a disaster” and has several underlying problems of unsolved access to loans and accountability.
She said she is a “recovering English professor” and got out of academia because of the restrictions of academia on learning. She said that “liberal arts” and their faculty are “an entitled species and articulating its value” and that liberal arts faculty and their profession are more “arcane” than ever.
Her university is more focused on job training-type courses, which educators call “competency.” As a result, it provides better training for students, is a flexible schedule and “employers are very excited about this.” Reason being, university transcripts have become a “black box” where competency is measured by grades and not skills or competency.
San Jose State University President Mohamed Qayoumi disagreed, albeit cordially, with Kazin’s argument of colleges becoming “arcane” and should focus on competency and job skills and training. Instead, Qayoumi said that job training should not be the sole focus of college and that colleges should continue to provide “a global perspective, careers that they [the students] don’t know of” to help instill a “discipline of learning” in college students. Qayoumi expressed his belief that “liberal arts are central to our education” and that he does not “see much of a difference between liberal arts and sciences” because of the similarity of skills and competency they both teach.
However, at the end of the day, he admitted that “it shouldn’t take [students] six years to experience it” but tried to salvage his argument when he said “nothing can replace a campus experience.”
Spencer Irvine is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.
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