“The New Liberal Arts” by Sanford J.Ungar

In this essay, “The New Liberal Arts”, Sanford J.Ungar listed seven common misperceptions of liberal-arts education today. Misperception No.1and No.2, which are more relevant to me, indicate that many families are not able to afford the cost of a liberal-arts degree, so they prefer to some career training schools. The difficulty of finding jobs after graduation is another reason which discourages people to choose liberal arts as their majors. But for No.1 there are so many examples of failed experiments in the history prove that it is not wise to train people as work unit instead of inspired individuals. Study only one specific career will lead them to a dead end when there has no positions of that job. For No.2 Ungar insists that the study of liberal arts is not only a process of reading and learning literal works, it is the best way to understand cultures and communication. As such, the headers of many corporations are these people who have literal-arts degrees. No.3 and No.4 will not be a problem because the thoughts of liberal-arts education is prepared for upper class and if you choose liberal-arts as your major, you will only learn arts, are untenable in a time that everyone is equal and arts always combine with technologies. I kind of agree with No.7 that small, private colleges are doing better than some large universities in the interaction with students. And the problem of high cost can also be solved by the more and more generous financial aid. Ungar advises that though liberal-arts education has its disadvantages and need to be improved, we still should treat it without these misperceptions.
In the Misperception No.2 Ungar gives examples that, “Plenty of philosophy and physics majors work on Wall Street, and the ability to analyze and compare literature across cultures is a skill linked to many other fields, including law and medicine. Knowledge of foreign languages is an advantage in all lines of work.” What Ungar means by this example is that the study of liberal arts, such as languages, is not only a process of learning languages themselves, but a way to understand the cultures and their links. These are specific career education do not have. In Misperception No.1 Ungar emphasizes that “It is wiser for students to prepare for changes—and the multiple careers they are likely to have—than to search for a single job track that might one day become a dead end.” This statement reminds us the original intention of education is not just a guarantee that students can find a job. The purpose we receive higher education is to be a person will not be eliminated by mainstream. So the skill for works is just a tiny part. What we should do is to  improve personal comprehensive ability by liberal-arts study.


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