The New Liberal Arts Sanford Ungar: Exploring Bias And Persuasion

Introduction

In ‘The New Liberal Arts,’ author Sanford J. Ungar argues that there are common misperceptions/misconceptions about pursuing liberal arts degrees. Ungar notes that from his vantage point as a liberal arts college president, it is commonplace for policymakers, news outlets, and budget-conscious families to disregard liberal arts degrees in favor of specialized vocational training or STEM degrees. In addressing the question of the latter, Ungar suggests that liberal arts degrees offer a more rounded and diverse education.

Body

Addressing Misconceptions

Using his own experiences as an educator, Ungar illustrates the idea that liberal arts degrees could be the solution corporate America needs. He outlines six misperceptions and labels the 7th as a misconception of how people in our country view a liberal arts degree and how alternatively we should view them.

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Misperception No. 1 suggests families view a liberal arts degree as a throwaway compared to career-specific education. Many families will steer towards vocational training as it can be profitable in the short term. Ungar argues it has become an advantage to gain a well-rounded education so you can adapt in life rather than hope your career will never become obsolete.

In Misperception No. 2, Ungar implies people think that finding well-paid jobs is becoming harder with irrelevant majors such as philosophy or French. Ungar disagrees when he points out that a 2009 survey of American Colleges and Universities found that more than three-quarters of our nation’s employers recommended that college students should pursue a liberal education.

Subtly revisiting the topic in No. 1, Misperception No. 3 states that liberal arts are irrelevant to low-income students, and the students, in turn, must focus on something more practical and marketable, suggesting that the rich make decisions while the lower classes carry out their ideas. Ungar’s experience highlights that students who are new to certain ideas and approaches are often the most original and inventive and have the skills to apply their ideas.

Misperception No. 4 briefly goes over the pitfalls of only studying the Arts. The notion is that people say STEM fields are where the action is. Though Ungar counters, the liberal arts contain the widest possible range of disciplines in the natural sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences.

Misperception No. 5 states that it is the liberal Democrats who got the country in trouble over the recent years. Ungar then mocks the Republican-spouted slur by writing, “But it may be only liberal education that can help lead the way back to comity and respectful conversations about issues before us” (340).

Misperception No. 6 characterizes liberal arts as old-fashioned in comparison to other countries with more practical orientations. Ungar refutes this by explaining in recent years, China has been inquisitive about the liberal arts. This suggests they may be looking for an alternative educational system.

Misconception No. 7 covers the rising costs of education and questions liberal arts efficiency and production. Author Sanford J. Ungar then blames the lack of help from government funding but also suggests small liberal arts colleges can be a cheaper alternative in the rough times ahead (341,342).

Reflection on Ethical Responsibility

The “The New Liberal Arts” in its entirety made me feel like it’s an advertisement in disguise. The negative connotations about larger universities Ungar use point the audience of the article to colleges his size. The not-so-subtle way that he insinuates Republicans blame Democrats for the recent downfall in our country’s economy is a call to action for his Democrat demographic. He further expands his audience by attacking specialized training over his liberal arts programs, potentially converting students who have not yet decided on an educational pathway. Furthermore, he closes his article with how colleges like his will be a cheaper and more sensible alternative to other costly educational institutions.

Despite the conflict of interest, I do agree with some of his points. A broader education can be more adaptive to career survival and, in my personal experience, survival itself. My success in poker and the training I spent thousands on have taught me how to read people, how to discern their situation, and how to hide my weaknesses. I’ve used those skills to survive being robbed at gunpoint.

Walking back to my car at Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa late at night, a man pulled a gun out and told me to empty my pockets. Looking at this guy about 5 feet away, I could tell he was about 45-50 years old. There are certain bio-markers you look for to determine age by looking at a face. His clothes seemed like a normal white shirt and blue jeans. Looking at his shoes, I could see that they were in a destroyed state, indicating his wealth and experience as a robber. A more successful and knowledgeable robber would have tennis shoes or boots for running through rough terrain. He spoke clearly and had a firm form holding his weapon, clueing me in he wasn’t intoxicated. I suspected he couldn’t afford ammo for the revolver he was using, so I looked for any signs. Deep shadows down the cylinders of the revolver suggested the cylinders were empty. I was still cautious as he may have one next in the chamber. I started to talk to the robber, “You kill me, you’ll get a murder conviction. There are cameras surrounding this casino and three police stations surrounding the area. You can’t outrun anyone in those shoes. I know you’re desperate, and I have $20 in my wallet after losing much more inside. Put the gun away, go wherever home is, and come up with a better plan than robbery, and I won’t report you.” He didn’t say anything else. Exasperated, he started walking away at a fast pace. Without this broader knowledge I sought to learn, the results of the situation could have been much worse for both me and him. Specialized training without a broader understanding of the world sounds too dystopian to me, even though we all start somewhere.

Conclusion

Ungar’s writing style was ineffective for me. However, I could see its influence and pointed nature. The labeling of misperceptions to misconception could be confusing to the audience, and I believe a better choice could have been made (perhaps by calling them assumptions instead). Ungar’s points should have been more concise to hold greater influence and credibility.

Overall, I believe this to be marketing material for his college. While Ungar does make good points, those points lose credibility in his biased views. I would not recommend this article as it contains little relevant information for the audience but rather for Ungar’s own gain.

Works Cited

  1. Graff, Gerald, et al. ‘They Say / I Say’: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. 4th ed., W.W. Norton & Company, 2018.

Technology In Education: Assessing The Positive And Negative Impacts

Introduction

Education has been part of our lives ever since we were born. Thanks to education, you are able to work in a job that you love and get paid enough to buy a home, clothing, etc. Compared to the past, education has changed a lot; now, we have technology. Some people will agree that there are positive and negative effects of education and that the way people learn is way different from the past than now.

Body

Balancing Traditional and Technological Approaches

In the past, education was different; instead of using iPads or tablets, students had to write everything with pencil and paper. Also, teachers had to use overhead projectors to teach students. In the past, students learned the hard way, but these days, students can just look up the answers with a click of a finger. Students who lived on campus in the past had it differently. Instead of a fancy room, they got a normal room, while today, we have a TV and a colorful room. Also, the apartments were cheaper in the past, while today, it’s more expensive.

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Education was great in the past because students learned. It seemed that teachers really cared about their students during that time. While today, students learn, there are times when teachers don’t do their job. Before, education was all about the students, but now it seems it’s all about money. This is the reason why the present education system teachers are not ready to teach it. This education system gives students degrees and diplomas without any knowledge; this is the reason why students aren’t prepared for the proper job.

That why these days, jobs are mostly required skills and some kind of degree. Because you may have a Master’s in your field, but can you apply your knowledge to this field? There are teachers who have experienced the change from before until now. For example, Hope Rigby-Wills (special education teacher) said,” I’ve seen a drop in the number of parents who are participating in conferences, PTO meetings, and who are able to assist with homework” (Hope Rigby-Wills).

Positive Impact of Technology in Education

There are some positive effects in education. For example, showing students technology at a young age will help them get an understanding of how technology is evolving and prepare them for the future. Also, technology can help students interact with different learning experiences and motivate them to learn. Technology has been part of our lifestyle; we use it every day when we go to work, school, etc. Thanks to technology, it makes it easier to access books for school and helps get better grades. Like for example, Webassign allows us to practice problems and watch videos that come with step by step.

Another positive effect of education will be on economic development because a lot of people in this world comes from poor place. Thanks to education, a lot of people come out of being poor, like, for example, Jim Carrey and Tom Cruise. Today, education plays an important role in health. These days, people are careful of small symptoms and avoid epidemics. Malnutrition is another problem because of a lack of organizational skills, farming capabilities, and nutritional values. But thanks to education, it helps society face this problem head-on. As Benjamin Franklin said,” An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Negative Impact of Technology in Education

There are also negative effects on education. For example, thanks to technology, students rely way too much on technology. Instead of doing homework on their own, they use the internet to get the answers. Another example is students having access to the internet, Facebook, Instagram (etc………) which leads to problems. Thanks to too much technology, it can affect their development and sense of reality.

The moral impact will have another negative effect. For example, it worsens the moral values a student has. These days, when you go to school, it is mostly about personal achievements and everything in life. That you have to be first in the class and that getting A’s and B’s is everything you need to be successful in life. Another is social responsibility; education is killing our sense of empathy. These days, if you get run over by a car, the person who was driving won’t get out and help you; that person will just drive away. EducationEducation today is teaching students to focus on themselves rather than on others.

Lack of wisdom is another negative effect. For example, the education system is all about cramming all of useless information into our minds. The education system expects us to memorize a huge load of information instead of learning; it just increases the level of students’ stress. We learn so much information, but we are not using it in daily life.

Social media has another negative and positive effect because today, it’s all about Facebook, Instagram, etc. The good thing about social media is that you make connections because, with connections, you get a well-paid job. Also, to stay connected with family and friends. It also helps provide new skills, quality education, familiarity with technology, and enhanced creativity. The bad thing about social media is that it reduces learning, poor academic performance and privacy. Students aren’t focused on learning; they mostly focus on texting with their friends, causing poor performance in school. And privacy, oh my, these days, if you post something embarrassing, people will remember that moment and can get you fired from your job.

Conclusion

I believe the education system is bad today because, these days, the government just cares about money. They don’t care about the students; they care about how much money they can get from us. For example, I want to become a Mechanical Engineer, and I know I have to take all these Math and Science classes. The thing that confuses me is why I have to take History, Art, etc. if it’s not part of my major. And when will we apply these classes in my field? They just made me waste more time, money, and years to get my degree in Mechanical Engineering.

References

  1. “The EdTech Bible: Everything You Need to Know About EdTech and How to Use It” by Matthew Lynch 

  2. “Teaching Machines: Learning from the Intersection of Education and Technology” by Bill Ferster 

  3. “The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education” by Curtis J. Bonk

  4. “Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It” by James M. Lang 

  5. “Learning in the Digital Age: Putting Education Back in Educational Technology” by John Seely Brown and Allan Collins

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