Volume 91, Issue 77

Friday, February 13, 1998

chumping for joy


Reporter gives eye-opening lecture

©Geoff Robins/Gazette

By Sara Marett
Gazette Staff

What is the value of a liberal arts education?

This was the question posed yesterday by Globe and Mail reporter and former Western student Jennifer Lewington to an audience which consisted mostly of Western professors eager to hear Lewington's thoughts on the future of post-secondary education.

Lewington, a seasoned journalist who has for many years written the "Education Beat" for the Globe, delivered a speech entitled, "Meal ticket myopia: the future of a liberal education."

She emphasized the importance of students gaining a solid education in social science or the humanities. "They must learn how to learn, to think, to analyze, to write, to communicate – these are the skills businesses desire.

"We have too many graduates who have the credentials but not the qualifications. One in five Canadian graduates feel they are overqualified for their jobs," she said.

Lewington challenged Canadian universities to better demonstrate the value of a liberal arts education. "They have failed to do so yet and this must change. Universities have assumed that it is enough to imply the value and then it is up to graduates to defend it."

Lewington offered suggestions on how universities could improve the quality of a liberal education such as working closer with colleges, rethinking curriculum, defining quality, improving internship programs and awakening in students the passion to learn.

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Copyright © The Gazette 1998