There is a new obsession among higher education administrators and the politicians who oversee them. That new obsession can be summarized as follows: Colleges must prepare students for jobs. While this new mantra might seem innocuous and even well intentioned, there is more to it than meets the eyes.
In the first place, in the world we live today the specific requirements for different jobs continue to change at a dizzying pace. What we think is most important today will most likely not be tomorrow. Leading to these changes are factors including technological transformations, as well as changes in the economic, social, and legal foundations of society. These changes make it virtually impossible to produce graduates with the precise know-how to be applied as soon as they graduate. And no one should ever think that what one learns in college is all that is needed to succeed. It is not about memorizing facts; it is about people’s ability to keep learning and adapting to a changing world.