Why Are Many Young Americans So Uncomfortable With Liberal Arts?

1128 words - 5 pages

Why are many young Americans so uncomfortable with liberal arts? And why are many high school graduates shying away from this particular form of education? Just like anything else that is popular, once the liberal arts has been accurately, or inaccurately, discredited, the aftermath inevitably spreads. As more and more information is being mistakenly spread, numerous liberal arts colleges are taking the fall. To combat this, university officers are speaking out to discredit the invalid claims.
Sanford J. Ungar, a journalist and president of Goucher College, is one of those faculty members actively trying to disprove the accusations against liberal arts colleges and educations. In his February 2010 article from the academic journal The Chronicle of Higher Education, Ungar gives readers many examples of common misunderstandings about liberal arts and then informs them why those examples are incorrect. Appropriately titled, Ungar’s “7 Major Misperceptions About the Liberal Arts” is an easy go to guide when a person wants to learn more about liberal arts. These readers, mainly students and parents looking towards a higher degree of education, can read Ungar’s essay and find new knowledge about the liberal arts discipline.
As students and parents are looking into colleges, their minds need to be open and free of biases. Sanford Ungar’s essay can help broaden the mindset of families, and even help make a decision to attend a liberal arts college. Ungar uses various techniques in his essay that make it effective. Not only does he discredit the misperceptions of liberal arts, but he also approaches his writing with etiquette that appeals to his readers. In his essay, Ungar uses three main appeals: reason, emotion, and ethics. By using these three concepts, he easily debunks the seven misperceptions in his article.
To start out his paper, Ungar uses the method of reasoning to inform and persuade his readers. He uses statistics and quotes from other experts to assist with his arguments. His first point of reason falls under the first misperception of liberal arts: “A liberal-arts degree is a luxury that most families can no longer afford. “Career education” is what we now must focus on.” Ungar goes on to quote Geoffrey Garin, the president of Hart Research Associates, saying that a liberal arts education will lead you towards a job that has not been created yet (Ungar par. 5). Ungar used this saying because he believes that a liberal arts education will always hold a job for someone, even if it does not exist while that person is in school. This is suggesting that liberal arts colleges are ahead of the workforce, creating well rounded individuals before they are even needed.
Ungar’s next use of reason comes from the second misperception: “College graduates are finding it harder to get good jobs with liberal-arts degrees. Who wants to hire somebody with an irrelevant major like philosophy or French?” He mentions a 2009 survey done...

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