A Good Worker is A Good Thinker

I think that it’s a shame that the for-profit sector has wasted so much and effort trying to defeat regulations and those Republicans (nearly 300 apparently, according to “For-Profit Colleges Win Major Concessions in Final ‘Gainful Employment’ Rule“) who are trying prevent regulation are wildly out of touch. Our industry needs strong regulations if it is ever going to mature into a legitimate part of higher education. If we are going to promise employment, then I think it makes sense that employment is the measure of our success.

As the Department of Education‘s announcements says, “These regulations are designed to ramp up over the next four years, giving colleges time to reform while protecting students and their families from exploitative programs.” This begs the question: can the for-profit sector both meet these regulations and keep up their commitment to the general education requirements demanded by the accreditation institutions? I think non-profits programs as well as for profits schools, as well as the industries they serve, need to discuss this issue directly.

A narrowly defined vocational curriculum focused on a single job is “So Last Century“) “Today’s students,” Kathy Davis writes, “are good test takers but poor lack the workplace essentials… [including] people skills (especially in diverse global contexts), communication skills, collaborative skills, analytical skills, networking skills…” . If this is true, then I think vocational programs– indeed all higher education– needs to be certain that the notions of vocation and skill in their curricula, and reflected in the regulations, embrace the liberal arts.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com. I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol] writinginthewild.com

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