Liberal arts colleges represent a tiny portion of the higher education market—no more than 2 percent of enrollees. Yet they produce a stunningly large percentage of America’s leaders in virtually every field of endeavor. A former college president trained in law and economics, Victor E. Ferrall, Jr., President Emeritus of Beloit College, shows how a spiraling demand for career-related education has pressured liberal arts colleges to become vocational, distorting their mission and core values. The relentless competition among them to attract the “best” students has driven down tuition revenues while driving up operating expenses. Ferrall makes a spirited case for the unique benefits of the education liberal arts colleges offer to students and to the nation. He urges liberal arts colleges to stop going it alone and instead band together to promote their mission and ensure their future. Professor Emerita of History and former president of the University of Chicago, Hanna Gray, comments.
Ferrall's book Liberal Arts at the Brink is published by Harvard University Press.
Recorded Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at The Newberry Library.