Honors Groups Unite to Combat Decline of Liberal Arts Studies

Leaders Say Schools Under Pressure to Train, Not Educate



Apr 24, 2001, 01:00 ET from Phi Beta Kappa

    WASHINGTON, April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- Academic
 honor societies at high school, community college and university levels will
 announce a major new partnership to counteract what they say is a national
 trend to dilute broad-based liberal arts studies in favor of narrowly focused
 career training in the nation's schools.
     Details of a new Alliance for Educational Excellence will be announced on
 Wednesday, April 25, at 10:30 a.m. at Phi Beta Kappa's national headquarters,
 1785 Massachusetts Ave.  Also participating are Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year
 college honor society, and the high school based National Honor Society.  Phi
 Beta Kappa is the nation's oldest college and university honor society.
     Phi Beta Kappa Executive Secretary Douglas Foard, Phi Theta Kappa
 Executive Director Rod Risley, and David Cordts of the National Honor Society
 will describe the new partnership and reasons for their growing concern about
 an erosion of the perceived value of a liberal arts education.
     "American high schools and community colleges, as well as four-year
 institutions, are under pressure to train a workforce rather than to educate a
 community," said Foard.  "The new economy is siphoning students away from a
 general education curriculum that emphasizes the liberal arts, to the
 acquisition of technology-centered skills.  Students think they can take a
 one-year certificate course in computer networking and programming and start
 earning $50,000 a year.  This creates a public perception that it doesn't pay
 to pursue studies in traditional academic disciplines," Foard said.
     The trend away from liberal arts is resulting in a shift in resources that
 "has tremendous implications for the future of our country and our democracy,"
 Foard added.
     The new Alliance will focus on breaking down the traditionally tiered
 structure of education, planners say.  "Historically there has been little
 organized effort on the part of four-year institutions to foster the liberal
 arts in high schools and community colleges," Foard said.
     A key initiative of the Alliance will be to work directly with high school
 students to encourage them to graduate from a two- or four-year college, and
 to motivate two-year college students to continue their higher education.
     Phi Beta Kappa has in the past provided the academic component of the
 National Honor Society's annual student conference and has collaborated with
 Phi Theta Kappa to develop their Honors Study Program topic, a theme selected
 annually that has multi-disciplinary applications among the organization's
 1200 chapters.  The Honors Study topic developed for community colleges will
 now be the focal point of the NHS conference.
     An additional element of the Alliance will be an interactive satellite
 seminar series, originally developed by the National Collegiate Honors
 Council, an association of two- and four-year college honors directors.  The
 series on the Honors Study topic may be downlinked by colleges/universities
 and community colleges.  College-bound and transfer students and faculty
 advisors will be invited to participate in broadcasts on host campuses.
     Phi Beta Kappa is seeking foundation support to sponsor summer teacher
 institutes for high school and community college faculty, beginning in the
 summer of 2002.  "We want to break down institutional barriers to improve
 courses and programs that emphasize the liberal arts," Foard said.  "It's
 imperative to communicate to faculty and students that they must learn how to
 live a life, rather than simply have the skill to earn a living."
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X76224166
 
 

SOURCE Phi Beta Kappa
    WASHINGTON, April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- Academic
 honor societies at high school, community college and university levels will
 announce a major new partnership to counteract what they say is a national
 trend to dilute broad-based liberal arts studies in favor of narrowly focused
 career training in the nation's schools.
     Details of a new Alliance for Educational Excellence will be announced on
 Wednesday, April 25, at 10:30 a.m. at Phi Beta Kappa's national headquarters,
 1785 Massachusetts Ave.  Also participating are Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year
 college honor society, and the high school based National Honor Society.  Phi
 Beta Kappa is the nation's oldest college and university honor society.
     Phi Beta Kappa Executive Secretary Douglas Foard, Phi Theta Kappa
 Executive Director Rod Risley, and David Cordts of the National Honor Society
 will describe the new partnership and reasons for their growing concern about
 an erosion of the perceived value of a liberal arts education.
     "American high schools and community colleges, as well as four-year
 institutions, are under pressure to train a workforce rather than to educate a
 community," said Foard.  "The new economy is siphoning students away from a
 general education curriculum that emphasizes the liberal arts, to the
 acquisition of technology-centered skills.  Students think they can take a
 one-year certificate course in computer networking and programming and start
 earning $50,000 a year.  This creates a public perception that it doesn't pay
 to pursue studies in traditional academic disciplines," Foard said.
     The trend away from liberal arts is resulting in a shift in resources that
 "has tremendous implications for the future of our country and our democracy,"
 Foard added.
     The new Alliance will focus on breaking down the traditionally tiered
 structure of education, planners say.  "Historically there has been little
 organized effort on the part of four-year institutions to foster the liberal
 arts in high schools and community colleges," Foard said.
     A key initiative of the Alliance will be to work directly with high school
 students to encourage them to graduate from a two- or four-year college, and
 to motivate two-year college students to continue their higher education.
     Phi Beta Kappa has in the past provided the academic component of the
 National Honor Society's annual student conference and has collaborated with
 Phi Theta Kappa to develop their Honors Study Program topic, a theme selected
 annually that has multi-disciplinary applications among the organization's
 1200 chapters.  The Honors Study topic developed for community colleges will
 now be the focal point of the NHS conference.
     An additional element of the Alliance will be an interactive satellite
 seminar series, originally developed by the National Collegiate Honors
 Council, an association of two- and four-year college honors directors.  The
 series on the Honors Study topic may be downlinked by colleges/universities
 and community colleges.  College-bound and transfer students and faculty
 advisors will be invited to participate in broadcasts on host campuses.
     Phi Beta Kappa is seeking foundation support to sponsor summer teacher
 institutes for high school and community college faculty, beginning in the
 summer of 2002.  "We want to break down institutional barriers to improve
 courses and programs that emphasize the liberal arts," Foard said.  "It's
 imperative to communicate to faculty and students that they must learn how to
 live a life, rather than simply have the skill to earn a living."
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X76224166
 
 SOURCE  Phi Beta Kappa