At one time, going to college/university was about expanding the mind to create an educated, thinking person. That’s why it was called ‘higher learning’. But how many go for that reason today? It’s all about the diploma to get that high paying job or any job that requires that piece of paper. Not that it’s a guarantee of anything, especially in this recession. And with so many online ways these days to get a diploma, is the full away-from-home college/university experience worth the cost? Aside from some more technical fields, is a two-year Associates degree better? Where should ‘expanding the mind’ fit into the push for vocational knowledge?

They’re the places you think of when you think of “college” — leafy campuses, small classes, small towns. Liberal arts colleges are where students ponder life’s big questions, and learn to think en route to successful careers and richer lives, if not always to the best-paying first jobs.

But today’s increasingly career-focused students mostly aren’t buying the idea that a liberal arts education is good value, and many small liberal arts colleges are struggling. The survivors are shedding their liberal arts identity, if not the label.
But schools like Adrian College, 75 miles southwest of Detroit and back from a recent near-death experience, offer something of a playbook.

First, get students in the door by offering what they do want, namely sports and extracurricular opportunities that might elude them at bigger schools. Offer vocational subjects like business, criminal justice and exercise science that students and parents think — rightly or wrongly — will lead to better jobs.

Exercise science??? Really?

  1. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Total BS. There has “always” been at least two if not 4-5 tracks in Higher Education. Count up each degree, 40-50==each with their own component of general liberal arts education vs more career/job oriented. Many are unavoidably a combo of the two. Take Psychology for instance. from the very same coursse, you can appreciate man in general, or yourself or family members specifically, OR you can take it all in as prospects to become a working psychologist.

    Few things are other than as you choose to interpret them as… or is that too psychological?

    Silly Hoomans. THINK = = = = Existentially.

    • Dud says:


      I’m sorry but I don’t speak CRAZY! So could you maybe take a remedial GRAMMAR SCHOOL course on WRITING and then explain? I won’t penalize for horrible punctuation or spelling since I know how cell phones have totally brain washed “our future” with things like texting and instant messaging. But I do have a problem when you just throw words together which sound good in YOUR head!

      Try proof reading a little more. Just for starts, read what you wrote: “ Count up each degree, 40-50==each with their own component of general liberal arts education vs more career/job oriented.

      WHAT THE FUCK?! “Count up each degree” like in cost or who earned it or WHAT?! And then there’s that 40 MINUS 50 crap which EQUALS TEN by the way. Did the Prozac and/or Lithium just kick in?

      I don’t know what silly Hoomans you’re referring to there QUARK! But I do know some of your posts ARE a bit out there (as in out of this world).

      • bobbo, one lefty loon who ain't squirmy at all seeing as how I'm confortable with ambiguity, consequences, math... and stuff says:

        Poor Chipmunk. Where are your nuts?


      • McCullough says:

        @ Dud…HA! You didn’t get your bobbo decoder ring in the mail?

        Great post, LOL.

        bobbo, it’s a little early to be this intoxicated, try to dial it down a notch.

        BTW, that kid’s funny.

        • bobbo, one lefty loon who ain't squirmy at all seeing as how I'm confortable with ambiguity, consequences, math... and stuff says:

          Yes, I was amused. But I did not chuckle.

          Needs more bite, like the whiskey in my coffee.

          could have said: “STFU!!!!! Obviously…(do love that name) with your abysmal grammar and lack of logic>>>>>>you NEVER went to College<<<<<<or even TRADESCHOOL===so just STFU!!!"

          Even when projecting into a lower life form, I couldn't give up the most fitting punctuation!

          Kid has attitude…… but how do I get to Carnegie Hall?

  2. noname says:

    I know 1st hand, in my company (Hi Tech Semiconductor), HR targets certain universities, certain degrees and ignores the on-line Diploma mill such as:

    University of Phoenix, Strayer College and Kaplan University are a few of the online …

    Some of the best, industry leading edge FABs, I am working in, when position are opened/posted, will not consider Engineers with and MBA as their advanced degree! Some will not finance MBAs for current employees.

    HR will only target Engineers that are technically astute and in some way tops in their field of study! Hiring managers, when they have positions, are looking for people who can push beyond technical or other boundaries of the current state of art. A new hire will need to demonstrate knowledge and capability of industry current state of art and not just some friendly, obedient but technically clueless moron!

    Slouches need not apply and a new hire needs to come fully trained ready to contribute, except in company systems!

    What’s unfortunate since 2007, the number of Leading edge IDM Semiconductor Companies has shrunk down to 2, with 2nd company ~4yrs behind the 1st company! Therefore, there is a surplus of experienced engineers!

  3. Harry says:

    A good plumber makes $50 an hour, if you are going to have to take some shit you might as well work for someone that desperatly needs your services.

    • Dude says:

      Plumbers don’t “TAKE” shit. That’s what we call “mis information”!

      Plumbers CLEAR the shit OUT! And charge a “butt load” to do it.


  4. Uncle Patso says:

    Education in the U.S. in general is suffering at every level. Public support for education has dropped and dropped and dropped. It’s now down to about 40 percent of what it was when I was in school and continuing to dry up faster than the Aral Sea. I knew someone who made enough working part time during the school year and full time in Summer to pay for a year of tuition, room and board and a new car (a VW bug to be sure, but _new_). The only way to do that today is to go $25-$40 thousand in debt.

    • noname says:

      The most significant cost increase stems from administrators and governing boards, who hold authority over resource allocation. Tenure-track faculty members’ influence on campus priorities has declined steadily, while the number of nonacademic professional staff has proliferated.
      A study of those ratios from 1987 to 2008 for research universities, colleges, and public master’s-level institutions reveals that the number of faculty and administrators per student actually grew over those years
      On the academic side, the tenure-track ratio (Prof to Student ratio) increased modestly at public research universities and more so at private research universities and colleges.
      The increase came from is from the administrative side, the ratios of executives to student and professional staff to student increased—the latter by 50 percent. In 1987, except at private research universities, where administrators outnumbered tenure-track faculty, colleges had approximately as many tenure-track faculty as full-time administrators. By 2008 there were more than twice as many administrators as tenure-track faculty at all types of institutions.

      • deowll says:

        When you figure that computers should have lowered the number of admin jobs and the numbers went up with admin making more and more money it is obvious that higher education has become a racket. The people running the places are making out like thieves while making jobs for their supporters.

        Teachers not so much. Many are part time non tenure track.

        Student are getting totally ripped off. The more government money the schools get the more they bleep over the students to slightly misquote B. Clinton, because they can.

      • Dude says:

        Tenure-track faculty isn’t really a good comparison. You need to look at ALL teachers/professors in a classroom when comparing their numbers to administrators. But I will agree with the point you seem to be trying to make; there are way too many administrators who do little or nothing for education and make a damn good living doing it.

        But when you think about it, tenure is also part of the problem. Because all too often when a professor/teacher achieves tenure it’s like inviting another pig to the trough of endless money supply. Sure, they can only take so much but it NEVER ENDS! And after a while, a lot of these tenured profs grow fat and lazy often to the point where even student interaction is a more of a bother to them as well. (It’s also/especially true for K through 12 too!)

        • noname says:

          Maybe so, but I never learned anything from an administrator! I also never learned much from tuition money wasted by administrators on Student commons building projects!

          And yes, too many Profs at research institutions begrudgingly teach and feel teaching detract from doing their research.

          Regarding k-12; personally I feel much of the problem are teachers having Master of Education (Ed.M.) and not being subject matter experts and not having a Masters in the subject they are teaching.

          • deowll says:

            I’m not sure that having an advanced degree in many of the topics being taught would be required in elementary school though I do acknowledge that we are definitely trying to push advanced math down as far as it can go. You still have to learn your number facts or live and die by the calculator because all you really know about math is how to use a calculator.

            Being proficient in advanced methods of instruction that actually work with younger students of normal ability on the other had would seem to be vital.

  5. deowll says:

    Need some other opinions: Some of this appears to be total BS such as the flare launcher and “replica grenade launcher”. Replica weapons in that class normally can’t be made to work and while I would not want to be shot with a flare launcher I’ve seen video of an bleep shooting himself in the head with one and while it caused a Gawd awful wound he was very much alive.

    Large capacity clips are against NYC law. Can you guys sort out the rest of this?

    • bobbo, one lefty loon who ain't squirmy at all seeing as how I'm confortable with ambiguity, consequences, math... and stuff says:

      Do-ill===whats not to enjoy non arrest relevant information that would be “of interest” to the readers?

      They were GUN NUTS to the extreme of having simulated non functional weapons. They weren’t arrested for that fetish stimulant, just a comment in the story.

      Imagine they further reported that they had 40 Chia Pets of Castro? A refrigerator filled with nothing but hot dogs? A copy of all your posts on their bathroom walls?

      Thats what crazzzzzzzzy people do.

      Your tether to reality is getting longer and longer. Beware of the whip lash. ((anti space guy is that right or not?))

    • Dude says:



      You’re talking about GUNS and other FIREARMS! Go to the OTHER stories about that shit if you want to spew your ignorance THERE!

  6. NewFormatSux says:

    How about putting the liberal and arts back in liberal arts colleges?
    Today we have Left-wing agitprop, and a lack of culture where top writers are replaced by more ideologically satisfying minorities, not to mention less rigorous. Larry Summers tried to do this at Harvard and was kicked out, but at least he got Cornel West to leave first.

    • bobbo, one lefty loon who ain't squirmy at all seeing as how I'm confortable with ambiguity, consequences, math... and stuff says:

      I’ll bet you’re a white guy?

      I can tell because I agree with you. History/Culture is all about, as in exclusively about, dead white guys.


      • msbpodcast says:

        Hey Bobo, you have any complaints about dead white dudes?

        <Holds up a mirror.>

        • bobbo, one lefty loon who ain't squirmy at all seeing as how I'm confortable with ambiguity, consequences, math... and stuff says:

          mpod–I really like you which is why I try not to respond to you. give you that breathing room, sense of freedom, lack of disagreement you need so forlornly.

          I post only to correct you that what you post is what I said. Humor, like epochal sediments, comes in layers. Dig a little deeper, or get a shinier mirror?

          Its only a parallel respect that I also crave….. or do I just see an excuse? ((Holding up mirror…… hmmm=== oh, it was an excuse.>>> Ha, ha.))

          Come, let us reflect together.

  7. A Simple Man says:

    I think you jumped the track!

  8. bobbo, one lefty loon who ain't squirmy at all seeing as how I'm confortable with ambiguity, consequences, math... and stuff says:

    What is the PURPOSE of college/university/higher education?

    The very same specific thing for each matriculant…or something more various?

    Better the person or prepare the person? Or to socialize them or to simply keep them out of the job market? To ingrain the basics that high school failed to do??????

    So many things…… variables…… alternatives………xxxx….not one thing. Hard huh?

  9. msbpodcast says:

    Speaking as one who just shelled out >$70k for my wife to waste four years of her life and get a totally useless bachelors’degree (dual cum laude majors) in education and art, I can relate to the kid’s song. 🙂

    Its all B.S.

    But then again, you have to something with your life on the way to the grave, and college is better than crack, meth, heroin or oxycontin…

    No regrets.

    • Dude says:

      My only regrets are the idiot human resource robots who wouldn’t know what education even looks like. To them, a degree is merely a ticket to get into the pile of possible interview candidates. And unless you have very specific experience/training at something, the only thing those robots really look at are whether or not you have a ticket and can prove that you can learn or at least “work the system”.

      So good for us! We have our tickets.

  10. Captain Obvious says:

    Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. – Benjamin Franklin

    Happy New Year

    • What? The moth is always drawn to the flame? says:

      Funny quote from a fat philandering man!!

      • bobbo, one true Liberal recognizing Obama is too far Right says:

        Poor Richard was written when Franklin was still relatively young/middle aged. Gout set in later.

        There is the truth, and then your druthers.

  11. Glenn E. says:

    If Abe Lincoln were alive today, and trying to finance his “higher education”. He’d never make it. Back in his time, a higher education was such a money making enterprise. And one could put oneself through college with much less of a financial burden. Lincoln certainly didn’t have a student loan, to pay off, for the rest of his life.

    The problem with today’s higher education is how way out of scale the cost has become. Especially for the materials like books. Why should any college text book cost $+200? And then of course, there is the tuition fees. That only keep going up and up, while the rest of the country’s jobs market is going down and down. Do college executives even live in the real world? Because they sure seem insulated enough from it. And instead of courses getting leaner and more efficient, toward some degree. They’ve gotten more padded with money making fluffery courses, that have nothing to do with one’s major.

    The “well rounded” excuse, is just that. An excuse to keep the near useless Humanities alive and well funded. While colleges in foreign lands don’t so burden their Engineering students. And they come to America, to take the jobs that the America students have had a much tougher time earning a similar degree for. Because of all this subsidizing of unrelated courses. That’s why these Online colleges are taking over. And if the brick and mortal Colleges want to survive. They’d better start specializing their curriculum, instead of diversifying it, to maintain their less useful classes and instructors.

    Keep those for the celebrities, who want the bragging rights of having gotten a Liberal Arts degree, between making movies or Tv shows. But is absolutely useless for someone trying to get an engineering, medical or science career. Would you want a brain surgeon, working on you, that spend too much time on a class in Music Appreciation, instead of the anatomy of the brain? Or would you want some guy designing the bridge you drive over everyday, who spend too much time on a class in French Literature, instead of metallurgy? Just how “well rounded” do you care about, when it’s your life at the end of a knife or wrench?

    • Captain Obvious says:

      >90% of engineers never do any real engineering. Most of them spend their time in middle management or project management and get excited about a new version of Microsoft Office “Professional”.

  12. Glenn E. says:

    Oh, I forgot to add… Another thing Online Colleges don’t worry about (or burden their students with funding). Is any kind of Sports teams. Many of today’s colleges seem more concerned with funding their Football teams, at the sacrifice of all else. Just because of the commercial sponsorship deals they’ll get. When the “Statium” is the biggest thing on campus. You know what that college’s priorities are. Avoid them, like the plague. Unless you want a degree in Football.

  13. scott says:

    Here is another great song about the current higher educational system:


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