Modern Education and Future Leadership
Slighting of Basic Studies in Postwar Period
Opening of the fall teem at the country's 900 universities and liberal arts colleges finds most of them still faced with problems of swollen enrollments, outgrown facilities, and inadequate budgets. These and other recurring difficulties are recognized as handicaps to the most effective use of teaching resources and constant attention is being paid them. But of far greater importance for the future than these immediately pressing problems is the much larger question of what should be taught in American institutions of higher learning.
Increasing emphasis on specialized training, and neglect of traditional disciplines, has worried observers in many fields and has brought warnings of danger in recent months from leaders in government, business, and the professions. Fears are expressed that the postwar need of specialists and the weight now given to vocational and professional training have caused colleges and their students to slight those segments of the curriculum that stress development of the well-rounded man.
Criticism of imbalance in the intellectual equipment of present-day college graduates has revived old controversies over the proper objectives of a college education and has raised calls for a general reassessment of undergraduate and graduate programs of study. Virtually all current discussion emphasizes the need of greater attention to the liberal arts throughout the American educational system—not only to give students the basis for a sound philosophy of life but also to assure the nation of a source of wise leadership for the future.