Solutions for Higher Education engages in deeper reflection of critical issues in the world of colleges and universities.
In Episode 31, President Scott L Wyatt and Professor Steve Meredith sit down to discuss the goal of higher education and attaining the promise of America.
“The goal of higher education is, in fact, teaching people to become employable, to make more money, to become independent, to take care of their families or themselves, to have a more meaningful life,” said Wyatt. “But I don’t know that any of them exceed in importance the training that occurs to help people become active participants in our form of democracy. It’s that democracy that protects life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
An educated public can better evaluate arguments and positions held by the government and make more informed decisions about how to vote to protect their freedoms.
“How do I take news that's coming from a hundred different directions and a million different opinions and figure out which one is the best?,” asked Wyatt. “How do I take what appears like two opinions and discover that there's more than two? This is hard stuff. You don't just develop these skills as a tradesman or woman or as a farmer. The key is education.”
Education is needed in order to maintain democracy, and democracy is needed to pursue happiness. Wyatt quotes the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough, who said, “Happiness to these 56 people that adopted the Declaration of Independence was education and the love of learning. The freedom to think for oneself.” The government exists to protect our ability to pursue happiness, and to be happy for the founders of our government was to be educated.
“This becomes almost circular logic, the government was formed so that we could enjoy the pursuit of happiness, and an educated life was critically important to maintain this government that’s purpose was to protect our rights to live an educated life. It just keeps going in a circle,” said Wyatt. “There’s been a lot of studies done about this, on average, people that have a bachelor’s degree are happier than people that don’t. The more educated we get as a country the better off we are. ”Listen to Episode 31 here.