ERIC Number: EJ923883
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: 1
The Three-Year Degree: An Idea Whose Time Will Pass
Marcy, Mary B.
Liberal Education, v96 n4 p52-56 Fall 2010
As the leader of the nation's only campus dedicated exclusively to early college, the author heads an institution that ensures students graduate sooner than the national average. As an academic who pursued her graduate work at Oxford University--an institution that confers most of its undergraduate degrees in three years--the author has had direct observation of a successful model of a three-year degree program. Thus, she seems a likely candidate to embrace the recently touted argument for the three-year bachelor's degree. And yet she has grave doubts about establishing the three-year college degree as the new American standard. These doubts are based on three broad concerns: first, the argument for a three-year degree has, to date, been driven by financial but not by educational objectives; second, there is a very real danger that such proposals can undermine the already threatened core liberal arts; and third, such proposals circumscribe the breadth and depth of learning, as well as the intellectual and social development of students, that are central to a college education. The author argues that if one is to take three-year degree proposals at face value and consider this model as the new standard for obtaining bachelor's degrees in the United States, then one must answer questions besides those of efficiency and cost. One must act as academic leader and answer questions of educational merit. To date, the author contends that the three-year degree proposals have failed to address these questions--questions that are at the core of the academic mission of colleges and universities.
Descriptors: Colleges, Educational Objectives, Liberal Arts, Social Development, Intellectual Development, College Students, Higher Education, Acceleration (Education), College Preparation, Bachelors Degrees, Time to Degree, Institutional Mission, Academic Achievement
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States