Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Douglas Hicks

Second Advisor

Dr. Thad Williamson

Third Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Erkulwater


President Obama has proposed that the United States increase the number of college graduates by 8 million by 2020 in order to raise national educational standards and to engage in global competition. Obama’s policies and rhetoric frequently describe “education as a pathway to success” and “education as a pathway to jobs,” but fail to emphasize its comprehensive, intrinsic values. America’s national discussion on education needs to shift away from framing higher education merely as pathway to the workforce, and should focus instead on education as a vital part of a well-lived life. To fulfill social justice under the capabilities approach, American leadership should strive to give everyone the genuine choice of pursuing a higher education.