Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Governor Daugaard Is Probably Glad She Didn't Mention Philosophy

It's about time for South Dakota's Governor Daugaard to issue one of his regular insults to philosophy majors. Because I believe there's always a place for philosophy and the humanities, I was pleased to listen to this WNAX report featuring University of South Dakota President Sheila Gestring defending the liberal arts.

Gestring makes several important points about the inherent value of the liberal arts. First, she rightfully points out that "there are jobs today we didn't even contemplate ten years ago." and "that will be true five years from now." She points out that a liberal arts education uniquely teaches students to meet the needs of jobs that don't exist now because the liberal arts teaches "students how to be problem solvers and how to think critically."

More importantly, she asserts that the creative thinking prompted by the liberal arts helps one "interpret what this job is evolving from and to" and gives employees an advantage in a world that changes quickly because of technology.

Finally, she points out that "communication skills are . . .very, very important and that's at the foundation of the liberal arts as well."

It's unfortunate that university heads have to defend the liberal arts from political leaders, but it's refreshing when they do so cogently.

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