Do today’s students have the luxury to ask, debate, and study life’s meaning and purpose, or are we seeing a “vocationalization of mainstream universities,” more focused on professional skills and salary potential? Perhaps it’s the cost of higher learning that drives students today to be more pragmatic and practical in their pursuit of a career and not have the luxury of pondering life’s big questions.
Molly Worthen, associate professor of history at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, has spent her career researching and writing about North American religious and intellectual history. This week, shejoins Lynne on the Make Meaning podcast, to discuss how humans find answers to Big Questions, how we’re still searching for life’s meaning, and whether higher education still has a role in finding important answers.
What are your Big Questions and have you found answers that satisfy you? Or are you still searching?
In this episode, Lynne and Molly discuss:
- The human tendency to explain the unexplained, and how religion and science fill the void
- Why religion attracts some people and repels others
- The growing movement to reform higher education
- The purpose of today’s college education: intellectual exploration or practical vocation?
- Factors driving the cost of today’s colleges and universities
- How humanities programs are contributing to their own demise
- Why a liberal arts education is still essential for future success
Links and Resources:
- About Molly Worthen
- Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicism
- Article: “The Anti-College is on the Rise”
- Outer Coast, Sitka Alaska
- Wayfinding Academy, Portland, AK
- The Arete Project
Coming up December 16 on the Make Meaning Podcast: Inspired Nonprofit Leadership with Vickie Thompson-Sandy, CEO of the Buckeye Ranch, one of the country’s leading providers of emotional, behavioral and mental health services for children and families.
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