Regarding Gov. Pat McCrory’s intentions to revamp higher education (“McCrory raises faculty’s ire,” Jan. 30): I respect the idea of rewarding colleges for how career-ready their students are, instead of how many students they admit.
However, I’m troubled by the focus on “skills” instead of “thinking” to help students get jobs upon graduation. “Thinking,” to me, means critical thinking, the ability to reflect, the ability to transfer knowledge to new situations in order to adapt to new circumstances and still perform.
Businesses and industry partners have been telling higher education for years that graduates have isolated skills and little ability to “think.” We need more thinking!
To make higher education more pragmatic, instead of ousting traditional liberal arts areas like gender studies, we should encourage colleges to cross disciplinary boundaries and begin co-teaching interdisciplinary courses that teach skills while also teaching students to consider and evaluate different perspectives.
Philosophy, gender and racial studies courses taught me to be a critical thinker, a skill I use today as an educational evaluator in a field that is still evolving.