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Caitlin commented on Imagine a NEW Bachelor's degree

Hi Preet,

Thanks for your comments. We agree that this idea does not apply well to all fields. In some fields, the traditional university goals of developing well-rounded thinkers are extremely relevant and complementary to students' goals. As you suggest, though, in a lot of more technical fields, students are more interested in developing skill sets that will serve as stepping stones to well-paid, fulfilling careers. In these fields, students often see general education requirements as a burden, distracting them from true interests and adding unnecessary weight to student debt.  

What we mean to suggest with this idea is that students who are not interested in overall, broad personal development should have another option that encompasses the same advantages of a traditional bachelor's degree without the excess. We are in conversation from leading employers across industries to develop sample curricula for these alternative bachelor's degrees. Obviously, implementing the idea would meet with resistance from Universities, but we suspect that more focused programs might produce more successful students in engineering, hard sciences, business, and computer science. This might allow top universities to attract students who would otherwise shy away from their price tag.

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Caitlin commented on Imagine a NEW Bachelor's degree

Thank for sharing, Katerina! Indeed, we did draw inspiration from European models that were described to us by interviewees. It would be great to leverage some of the strengths of systems in other countries in the United States to tackle the problem at hand. We will look to university of applied science programs for input in prototyping curricula.  

Thanks for your comment, Nicole. I agree: there is a huge different between a fitness center and an expensive laboratory or library in terms of need. That said, how many of the undergraduate students at a university are actually using that plasma lab? Maybe 5 in a big physics department. But the university as an entity has more than one goal. It aims to educate students and also to create new knowledge through research. Each university has to compete to maintain customer (student) satisfaction and reputation (nobel prizes, published articles, famous professors, etc.). I think this propagation of knowledge is just as important as undergraduate education, though it may not be relevant to all of the participants.

As for college sports, I agree completely. I went to a university that voted to add a new science library rather than a football team, haha. What my more sport-friendly acquaintances tell me is that college sports generally bring in money, which is why people are outraged that college athletes are not compensated for their time. It would be a good topic to research to fully understand the issue.