About three-year bachelor’s degrees

Do the first two years of general education courses really teach one how to live a thoughtful, ethical and responsible life? Do the second two years of specific education guarantee a job in one’s chosen field?

Neither question can be answered in the affirmative. Some college graduates are under-employed and some graduates are unemployed. Yet some graduates have very large educational debts to repay.

This has caused some colleges to consider a three-year bachelor’s degree to replace the present four-year degree. It would be cheaper for the public and the parents and it would get the student into the workplace one year sooner.

So should colleges downsize to a three-year bachelor’s degree? I hear applause and no opposition.

How should this program be structured to ensure substance and quality? General principles should pervade the new core program Alfred North Whitehead declared in “Aims of Education:” “The university course is the great period of generalization. The spirit of generalization should dominate a university. At the university, the student should start from general ideas and study their application to concrete cases. The function of the university is to enable the student to shed details in favor of principles.”

A mastery of these principles will enable the student to solve problems and to think and act in a logical, ethical, rhetorical and political framework.

This new three-year degree program will also need coherence and unity. The required courses must be taken in a required order. Logic is the foundation of mathematics, mathematics is the foundation of science and science is the foundation of many if not most professions. Grammar is the foundation of logic, logic is the foundation of rhetoric and rhetoric is the foundation of communications. The nature of man is the foundation of ethics and ethics is the foundation of politics.

All is connected. All is linked together. Each link has its proper place. No link can be left out. Every link has a purpose.

In conclusion, the three-year bachelor’s degree is a new opportunity to offer the kind of education that all human beings out to have. It is also the only practical education.

This program has the advantage of saving the public and parents a great deal of money; and of preparing the student for any problem or opportunity the future may bring.

Lewis Rutherford



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