What is College For?

At a time when traditional notions of college are under attack — in the shift to online instruction, in the emphasis on STEM fields and the denigration of the liberal arts, in the continued privatization of public higher education — it is urgent that we ask what college is supposed to be about in the first place. What happens when education is understood in purely vocational terms? What happens to schools, to teachers, to society — to students themselves? Why are students learning so little in college? Why are courses so much less important to them than extracurriculars? Why do so many young people today have trouble finding a sense of purpose? What are we doing to our children, and why are we doing it?

Festival: 2015

Watch and Listen: Education

The inaugural Aspen Ideas Award, developed with Booz Allen Hamilton, recognizes innovative ideas from Festival... See more
Kicking of the 2015 Aspen Ideas Festival, Walter Isaacson and David G. Bradley are joined by a variety of speakers who... See more
We continue to face an education system riddled with budget cuts and decreasing high-school graduation rates. Chicago... See more
In the spring of 2010, Steven Strogatz wrote a 15-part series on the elements of math for The New York Times. To both... See more
We’ve all had great teachers who opened our minds — and maybe even changed our lives. But how can we make every teacher... See more
Best-selling author of The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything Fast! Josh Kaufman shares universal, field-tested... See more

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