Here's one of the questions and his answer ...
Question 4: Is there an innovation/idea/movement/methodology that excites you in terms of the future of education?I'm all in favor of teaching critical thinking and learning how to learn.
Yes. A liberal arts education.
A liberal arts education is based on the idea that the most important part of an education is learning how to learn.
In our liberal arts schools we explicitly focus on developing skills in communication and collaboration. Integrity, self-reliance, and independence of thought are all essential elements to a liberal arts education. A comfort with risk taking, and the ability to make a positive impact on our community’s and the world.
These will be the skills that will be essential in the cognitive economy of the 21st century.
I see no evidence that liberal arts schools are doing a better job of this than other universities and there's certainly no evidence that you can learn these skills as a history major but not as a physics major. Same applies to communication, integrity, self-reliance, and independence of thought. It's silly to imply that these skills can only be developed in a liberal arts program. (C.P. Snow is still right after all these years.)
The "innovation" applies to all disciplines in a university. Every student should be taught how to learn whether they are in engineering, science, liberal arts, or (gasp!) business & commerce. The fact that it's considered to be an "innovation" is what disturbs me the most.
Here's the second question & answer that I want to address ...
Question 5: The world is changing fast with new careers being created every day. Most students will change jobs multiple times throughout their careers. What advice do you have for the current and next generation ? what should students do to remain competitive in an increasingly complex global economy?There's nothing at all wrong with a liberal arts education as long as it includes a lot of science. Ivy League schools—like Dartmouth where Josh Kim teaches—cannot continue to graduate students who don't understand basic concepts about the natural world.
Same answer as the previous question. Get a liberal arts education.
I worry that both the market and our culture is pushing students away from a liberal arts education.
There is too much of a focus on the income of a first job, and not enough focus on lifetime economic and social outcomes.
When we take a long view, liberal arts graduates excel at every measure of economic and personal success.
I also worry that a quality liberal arts degree is increasingly out of reach for all but the most talented and privileged in our society.
We need to do whatever we can to increase access to a liberal arts education.
Students who learn how to learn and learn how to think critically will be well-prepared to enter the real world after graduation. However, in today's society it's not enough to be able to discourse on the difference between Charlotte and Emily Bronte or whether barbarians caused the fall of the Roman Empire.
That may have worked in the past but at today's social gatherings you better know something about vaccines, evolution, climate change, algorithms, genetically modified foods, solar energy, eclipses, plate tectonics, and the Higgs boson or you are going to look like a fool.1 If you're visiting a psychic or a homeopath then your liberal education was worthless.
The implication that only a liberal education, not a science-based education, will properly prepare you for the workplace is absurd. In an ideal world, all types of university education will do the job as long as the program doesn't ignore the fundamentals of science and scientific thinking.
Are you curious about what a liberal arts education really means? Watch this discussion about "The Liberal Arts at Dartmouth: What Lies Ahead?" You can hear five professors and one dean at Dartmouth talk about why the liberal arts is so important but at the end you probably still won't have any idea what they're talking about. That's what a liberal arts education does for you! It teaches you how to obfuscate and sound intelligent. Above all, it teaches you the importance of anecdotes as a substitute for facts and data.
1. Perhaps this is wishful thinking. For my generation, it's still acceptable to proclaim loudly that you know nothing at all about science and math—dropped them in high school—and still be respected.