I have nothing but support for the position President Roth articulated in the latest Wesleyan magazine (issue 2 of 2014). I would much prefer my children to get a broad, liberal education rather than some program that is too narrowly focused, too career-centric. But what I would like to have seen in the article was some discussion about how such an education may best be provided. As priceless as a good education is, the price is becoming prohibitive. If institutions like Wesleyan want to be seen as relevant to a broad cross-section of people, they will have to pioneer ways to deliver the kind of education they believe in to more people at lower cost.
Paul Schwebel ’78, Sebastopol, Calif.
It was with some disappointment that I read Bill Holder’s interview of President Roth on his new book, Beyond the University. President Roth seems to have willfully misunderstood our culture’s recent criticism of liberal education as an argument against its inherent value rather than an argument against its exorbitant cost.
He should be relieved to hear that critical thinking, broad-mindedness, and lucid writing skills remain fair currency in our society. Less comforting, however, is the fact that many liberal arts graduates are indeed not prepared for success in today’s world—because they leave school burdened with unconscionable amounts of debt.
Jordyn Bonds ’00, Boston, Mass.
The Wesleyan issue 2, 2014, Q & A with President Roth leads me to affirm how profoundly I appreciate my liberal education begun with the class of 1949. I graduated with a disappointing record, a near failure of the comprehensives. Yet my association with faculty planted seeds that eventually grew many times in the past 65 years, including: two graduate programs; varieties of education and human service careers; and, most important, expanded personal/intellectual growth and interests.
Graduation in 1949 was a commencement of discovering that even my apparent failures within Wesleyan’s liberal education held potential for years of personal fulfillment.
John Preston ’49, Greenfield, Mass.