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Liberal Arts Reading Questions 4/24 – Will Lorenzo

1. Consider a scenario where a person gets a vocational education, with no liberal arts components whatsoever. She gets a job, then gets fired and can’t get work. Given a scenario like this, which probably happens a lot, can this be seen as the major reason for a liberal arts education? Should the liberal arts be seen as the foundation for a specific area of study?

2. In that parents’ survey, nearly 40% state that the most important reason for a child to go to college is to get a good job. Is this feeling (which will only grow over time) be the reason for the demise of the liberal arts education or do other factors come into play?

3. In the parents’ survey, about 45% strongly agree that vocational school is the pathway to a good job, about 32% strongly agree that not going to college is the pathway to a good job, and about 28% strongly agree that a liberal arts college is the pathway to a good job. Why does the liberal arts come in last place, even after ‘not going to college at all’? Has the reputation of a liberal arts college diminished that much already?

4. Since many employers are looking for candidates with a well-rounded education, where she can read, write, solve problems, and have many other capabilities, can the liberal arts college be seen as a road to this kind of candidate? A liberal arts university is really the only type of institution of higher education that can grant these capabilities to its students. With these notions of a good potential candidate, why is the liberal arts college still diminishing?

5. In the “Death of Liberal Arts” article, it is stated that “the number of liberal arts colleges dwindled from 212 in 1990 to 136 in 2009.” At this rate, there will soon be only a handful of liberal arts colleges in America. What can these colleges do in order to attract more applicants and keep their doors open?

6. Consider a scenario where a student graduates with a degree in the liberal arts. She later decides that she wants to pursue a career which needs a lot of technical know-how, a career where she would have needed to take many an appropriate class while in college. In this case, can the liberal arts be seen as an obstacle to her success? For a person like this, what are the benefits of the liberal arts?

Reading Questions for 04/24/13

1.The Jaschik article mentions that the true value of a college is not recognized by critical thinking or well-roundedness, but rather by the goal of getting a job. How do liberal arts colleges compete with vocational and STEM oriented colleges with this kind of mentality? Are liberal arts colleges becoming an endangered species of university? How can liberal arts colleges begin to attract the masses again?

2. If more Americans attend vocational schools to learn a specific trade or field, does that limit our overall knowledgeably as a people? Can we effectively compete with other countries if we just focus on STEM fields and vocations, or is a worldliness needed?

3. According to the Humphreys presentation, employers are looking for well-rounded critical thinkers to take on their jobs, but they are not getting them. What message is being lost from the employers to the college advertisements/mission? If this was massively distributed as knowledge, wouldn’t the value of liberal arts colleges greatly increase?

4. The Coulson article seems to hint that students should build up a portfolio of jobs rather than attend liberal arts universities. In a very restricted job market, is this opinion viable? Do you think liberal arts colleges can be replaced with an individual drive to learn?

5. Many college students may see their college education as a chore and an obstacle to getting a job. Nussbaum argues that this declining popularity has led to a restriction in humanities. Do we think that humanities are an essential quality of college learning, or are they a waste of elective credit?

Reading Questions 4/17

Ace Report: Minorities in Higher Education

The percentage of both Women and Asian Americans obtaining a BA has risen within the last twenty years. What factors do you perceive to be the cause of this change (ie socioeconomic factors, the economy)?


What is College For? The Purpose of Higher Education

The “traditional” college student of one who has just freshly graduated from high school has changed due to several reasons, including the cost of tuition. Do you believe that this change of the traditional college student to be a beneficial or detrimental change to our economy and the future of higher education? Explain.


The implementation of a liberal arts curriculum has declined severely within the last few years. Is liberal arts knowledge crucial in the world we live in today? Do you believe this decline to be part of the knowledge that the payoff of majoring in the Arts and Humanities has declined in the last few years to be part of this change?


There has been an argument that most students who enter college are not “college material” and that “graduate degrees are not worth much.” What can we do to fix this?


Funding has more and more been given out on the basis of merit. As the current economy has cut millions from higher education budgets, how can colleges cater themselves more for students who do not necessarily meet the basis of merit but still want to go to college?


Grutter v. Bollinger Wikipedia Article

Grutter v. Bollinger upheld the affirmative action admissions policy of the University of Michigan Law School. However, this case sparked a lot of concern over the status of higher education and its role in admitting minority students. Do you believe that this case had the right ruling of prolonging affirmative action? Or should they have just ended it then because they are now having multiple court cases that are trying to overturn this ruling?


Justice O’Connor’s Deadline

Colleges clearly want to maintain “black admission,” but the “white average was higher than the black average” on multiple SAT tests over the last ten years. What can educators do to ameliorate this gap?


Michigan: Who Really Won?

Colleges want affirmative action to maintain diversity with the argument of higher education being courageous. Are there other means for higher education to maintain its diversity and courage? Please list and explain.


Post Michigan: How Minority Enrollment Has Changed and U. of Michigan Will Use Application Essays to Help Enroll Diverse Undergraduate Class

The new enrollment policy in the University of Michigan was the implementation of application essays. The problem is that the applicants do not know how to write these essays or approach them, again pointing to a problem with their education as opposed to the college’s administration. What can be done to fix this and make minorities more “college ready?”


Affirmative Action, Innovation and the Financial Future: A Survey of Presidents

“A full 70 % of presidents surveyed agreed or strongly agreed with that statement that the consideration of race in admissions has had a ‘mostly positive effect on higher education generally.’” Now, this statement can be taken many ways. Do you believe, after reading this article, that these presidents mean this honestly or because a greater, more diverse student body means more money coming in from both the government and from donors? Look at how the presidents rated themselves and their opinions about MOOCs for a clearer picture.


Essay on Significance of Supreme Court case on affirmative action

This article introduced the condition statement of “as long as Grutter remains good law.” Do you believe that is was good law in the context of race-conscious admissions practices?


Some Universities Use Race as a Factor. That Could Change.

The argument made in this article from a few weeks ago is that using race as an admissions factor is wrong and that the attention should now shift to merit. Do you believe that this should be the new shift?


The World New II

This article is clearly laced with the opinions of the reporter. What is your opinion of the Fisher v. U. Texas case? Should it have been picked up by the courts, let alone the Supreme Court, in the first place?


The Supreme Court Just Doubled Down on Affirmative Action

Do you think Abigail Fisher was justified in taking her case to court? State your opinion and explain.

Is there any true substance behind her claim? Any true principle?


Supreme Court takes another case involving affirmative action and higher education

With the ruling of the Fisher v. U. Texas case coming in June, how would you, if you were a Supreme Court Justice and after reading all of these articles, rule the case?


U.S. Supreme Court takes on second case of affirmative action, college admissions (poll)

“Americans value diversity, but they value fairness more,” said in regards to affirmative action.

Is this statement true? Give historical events/rulings to validate your opinion.

Michigan Votes Down Affirmative Action

How does affirmative action truly implicate the status of gay rights in America? Give multiple examples to support your claim.


Retreat on Affirmative Action, Proxies for Race, and The Data Plan

Is it necessary to block Proposition 2? Are there other ways for a college to promote diversity?


Short Term Reprieve for Affirmative Action and Century Foundation report advocates class-based affirmative action

Academic freedom is not explicitly stated in our constitution, but the Supreme Court basically made it a right in a ruling in 1957. Do you believe affirmative action directly falls under academic freedom?


Is there validity, in your opinion, in the argument that indirectly creating racial diversity is less efficient and less effective than simply considering race in admissions? Provide proof.


Delay of Affirmative Action Ban Rejected and Appeals Court overturns Michigan ban on affirmative action

Michigan universities were ordered to stop using affirmative action in admissions immediately. How did this affect the admissions cycle and future ones?


Access and Success, Attacking the “Mismatch” Critique of Affirmative Action, and Affirmative Action and University Fit

Can there be a commitment to access without affecting completion rates for minority students? Take in the policies of California, the idea that “affirmative action influences which schools African American students attend, but has only small effects on whether these students attend…,” the theory of “mismatching” and how UC campuses responded to Prop 209 by trying to help more of its students graduate.

Questions for 4/16 – Jonathan Edelstein

1. If you had to choose, which would you say is more morally questionable, affirmative action or legacy admissions? Should the SCOTUS also be hearing cases regarding legacy admissions, or are legacy admissions less reprehensible because there is no racial discrimination per se?

2. Some colleges have informal deals with elite prep schools and usually consistently accept a certain number of students. On the one hand, this lends some sort of predictably for the colleges regarding the incoming class, but is this kind of policy really a meritocracy? Should this kind of policy be legal because it’s not based on race?

3. How far should colleges go to make up for perceived inequalities, and who should be the one making these decisions? For instance, a recent study determined that  children with divorced parents on average have lower grades. Should these students receive preferential treatment? What about students who live under constant bickering by parents? What about a student with a demonstrable low IQ score? Is there any way we can fairly decide where to set the line for helping students, or should we just come to the reality that life isn’t fair, and attempt to rectify these differences much earlier than college?

4. It has been proposed that colleges should consider income diversity as they do racial diversity. How can colleges “equally” consider different kinds of diversity? Isn’t a holistic diversity admissions process too subjective, and in the absence of transparent oversight, difficult to enforce?

5. I think everyone would agree that the issue of affirmative action is a complex one and that intellectually sound arguments can be made for and against it. Therefore, shouldn’t a ballot referendum have the power to decide the legality of affirmative action, as was attempted in Michigan? Shouldn’t the people have the power to decide to end a practice if that practice is perceived to be discriminatory, and stopping such a practice would not be discriminatory?

6. It has been suggested that affirmative action should be banned from school that are already considered diverse. What would happen if these schools become less diverse again in the future. Should those schools consistently be audited for diversity and allowed to use affirmative action again when they fail their diversity requirements?

Questions for 4/16/13

1. According to the ACE report the number of minorities enrolling in Higher Education is extremely low compared to the number of whites. Is this due to high school completion, cost of higher education, or other factors? In this case, is affirmative action justified?

2. With more college students needing to work part or full time jobs to support themselves through education, is college naturally geared against those of a lower income? Should the government increase financial aid benefits to offset this issue? How do we “fix” this inequality if we can at all?

3. With over 40% of people who cycle in and out of college changing universities, is a system like Pathways (universal across campuses) a good idea? Should there be a universal core curriculum taught throughout the nation to accompany those who cycle in and out? If not, how do we compensate for those classes being counted as credits?

4. Should Affirmative Action still be used or should all college admissions be based on merit? If they are merit based, how do we account for those who are from lower classes or lower incomes who may not have the money for SAT test prep, or to go to a better school in a better area. How do we control for these disparities? Is there another way to admit those students such as an income based affirmative action?

Access Reading Questions 4/17 – Will Lorenzo

1. What would happen if the Supreme Court ruled against affirmative action? How would higher education in America change?

2. Why is it that certain universities place a person’s race above another’s merit? In this regard, can affirmative action be seen as reverse discrimination?

3. Why is affirmative action steeped solely in race, and not in income? Shouldn’t poor white people who couldn’t afford good secondary education also have a chance at getting into a school not based solely on merit?

4. Why do colleges today feel that a student population’s diversity is the most important aspect of their image? Shouldn’t other factors play a larger role than race? Why is race seen as more important than merit by many institutions today?

5. With affirmative action (and other methods) being a way for people to easily get into a school (sans merit), does this effectively diminish the reputation of an undergraduate degree? Can this be seen as one of the reasons for the recent notion that a person needs a graduate degree to succeed in contemporary America?

Reading Questions 4/17

1. Do MOOCs have the possible effect of allowing access to higher education to anyone who seeks it?

2. Can MOOCs be used to decrease the gaps between students that occur in K-12 schools, and help to prepare and level the playing field for underprivileged students?

3. Is ethnic diversity necessary for a college? What benefits does ethnic diversity hold over merit based admissions and socioeconomic diversity?

4. At what point does affirmative action limit access to those who deserve it more based on merit, abilities, and rates of completion? Is affirmative action working, or is it making it harder for more qualified individuals to go to school based on race, by letting in less qualified individuals?

5. If there is a gap between ethnicities applying to college, isn’t affirmative action a K-12 problem, where those schools need to be more diverse, allowing students from all backgrounds to get the same education and graduate on the same level? Would increasing diversity in K-12 schools solve this problem better than at the college level?

Interview Questions

1. What challenges are presented by online classes and degrees, and to what extent can these online courses be credited and offer degrees?

2. In your opinion is the role of higher education to prepare people for better jobs where they can earn more money, or is its role greater than that?

3. Is higher education for everyone? Can some people just not be fit or able to gain from the current set up of higher education?

4. Is it more important to attain a degree in college, or is the experience and connections gained in college more valuable?

5. What do you think about students who claim to “teach themselves”? Does this discredit the hard work of professors, or show the inherent problems of lecture style classes?

Economics Group Questions:

1. How can rising student debt affect the landscape of higher education as we currently know it? Will students still choose to go to expensive private schools, or will public colleges become of greater demand? Has this possibly already happened? How does tuition discounting level the playing field for private and public colleges?

2. What are the largest expenses in running a college, besides professor salaries? If MOOCs and other online course systems gain proper accreditation, do they present a problem for brick and mortar schools by being able to out-compete them?

3. Where does most of the funding for your school come from, if you could break it down to approximate percentages?

4. Based on your experiences in Higher Education, what do you think the true cost of college is for students? Are some schools overcharging students?

5. Do you believe that Higher Education has become a bubble? Why or why not? What will happen if this bubble bursts?

Questions for President Gould

– Just as community colleges are considered a platform for many non-traditional students to begin their pursuit of a degree, do you expect open online classes to do the same? Will they gain a more influential role in allowing non-traditional students to get started?

– Will an increase in online classes given by institutions increase the democracy of higher education, or simply filter those in a lower socioeconomic class out of public higher education? How would either affect Brooklyn College or CUNY in general financially and socially?

-Many of today’s employers value potential employees that exhibit people skills and can work well in groups. Would moving instruction  away from classrooms hurt social interactions, or help them via webinars/online interaction and add a level of personal responsibility to group work, since one must take the initiative to interact online as well.

-CUNYfirst is one of the newest technological innovations CUNY has provided to students, and it’s already generated controversy over some minor glitches and due to it deviating from the former WEBsims. How will CUNYfirst benefit students and what other technological innovations on campus are there in the future for Brooklyn College?

Digital Aristotle: Thoughts on the Future of Education

Hey guys, I was watching stuff on Youtube and I came across this video that offers an interesting perspective on the Future of Education with respect to technology that I thought you might find interesting. It’s by a Youtube channel user named C. G. P.  Grey who does a lot of videos explaining various interesting and occasionally educational topics with animated visuals. While I don’t necessarily agree with all of his points, Grey definitely offers an interesting take on what education will look like in the next couple of years. Hope you enjoy it!

Digital Aristotle: Thoughts on the Future of Education