Itty Bitty Book Review: _ College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be_

Andrew Delbanco hooked me on page three of his College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be when he lists what he thinks a college education should give a graduate. Instead of the usual list of skills or prattle about job opportunities, Delbanco sets down a few habits of mind:

1. A skeptical discontent with the present, informed by a sense of the past.
2. The ability to make connections among seemingly disparate phenomena.
3. Appreciation of the natural world, enhanced by knowledge of science and the arts.
4. A willingness to imagine experience from perspectives other than one’s own.
5. A sense of ethical responsibility. (3)

That list remains a highlight for me, but Delbanco’s historical information about America’s most venerable and venerated colleges and universities provides good context for thinking about where we are today.

Still, even if I’d read no further than page three, I’d still recommend College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be. The ability to write that list tells me that at least one other person shares my view of what should result from a solid liberal education.



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