The complaint: pre-professional, para-professional, and professional programs occupy large slabs of the undergraduate curricula in colleges and universities in the United States. Core courses in which the arts and humanities were introduced to first- and second-year students are extinct in places, replaced by distribution requirements or specialized seminars that occasionally--but not often--expose students to a broad range of studies from classics to cultural anthropology, history, philosophy, music, literature, political theory, and other precincts in the liberal arts. Undergraduates wishing to enter the professional programs in journalism, business (finance, accounting, and marketing), education, energy, environmental sciences, health care, and health sciences fill their “dance cards” during their initial two years with prerequisites; then, successful, they complete their undergraduate educations, rarely, if ever, returning to the arts and humanities for an elective. During sessions of “lifelong learning” courses that I have been privileged to teach, I frequently hear retired professionals lament that they had been yanked from the liberal arts into prescribed pre- or para-professional studies to regain consciousness only after returning, late in--or at the conclusion of--their careers, to art history, comparative religion, medievalia, philosophy, or somesuch.

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Copyright © 2015 The Author. Article first published online: 05 FEB 2015. DOI: 10.4337/lath.2015.02.05

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Kaufman, Peter Iver. "Opinion: Education for Professional Leadership and the Humanities: Exhortations and Demonstrations." LATH Leadership and the Humanities 3, no. 2 (September 1, 2015): 145-57. doi:10.4337/lath.2015.02.05.