Dartmouth religion professor Kevin Reinhart says something I happen to agree with:
The Dartmouth Review: As a professor of religion, a department in the humanities, what do you think is the role of a liberal arts education in today’s pre-professional society?
Kevin Reinhart: Well the short answer to that is simple: people who do pre-professional work, someone who comes to Dartmouth and just does economics all the way through, I think are being trained to be middle-management. It is a luxury to be one of the people who, to use the business cliche, can see around corners. People who can draw on a wide variety of, not just American but also world cultural features — history, languages, so on and so forth — have that kind of ability. They are the ones who are going to be leaders. The ones who do solely pre-professional work may be well compensated, but they will not be leaders. To that end, I would point to the fact that two of Dartmouth’s most successful graduates in finance, one the head of the Fed and one the Secretary of the Treasury, both studied subjects other than finance. One was a history major and one was an Asian Studies major. It is a shame that students feel discouraged from taking advantage of a liberal arts education when, in fact, that is both what will benefit them and what Dartmouth is best at.
Joseph Asch adds: “I agree in spades. Over the years, whether in dealing with managers or lawyers or even architects and other professionals, folks with a liberal arts background understand larger issues which people with only technical training just can’t comprehend.”