Monday, September 08, 2014
The Largest Major at Community Colleges
So far, that mostly hasn’t happened. Maybe it’s time to start.
The Dog is back!!! Congratulations to you and the Wife and the Girl and the Boy (and the Dog, you silly silly puppy!)
Not everything sucks.
To be accurate, you should have said "Liberal Arts and Sciences" because that is the category they actually used. That helps make it a little clearer why a future engineer would get an Associate in Arts degree.
In addtion, a look at their full data table suggests that part of the 29% "Other" category probably includes transfer as well. Many history and engineering majors must be planning to transfer.
That terminology of "liberal arts and sciences" would resonate better with people who are familiar with universities that still have a college of arts and sciences that might as well be almost the entire university. However, even that confuses the distinction between a liberal arts major (meaning upper division classes in the liberal arts but not the sciences) and the old General Studies pseudo-major that many freshmen and sophomores were put in as a kind of administrative purgatory until they met the requirements to formally enter a specific major in a college within the university.
When I was in college, it was explained to me that a "liberal arts major" did actually include pure sciences, so a non-vocational biology, math, or psychology major was also getting a liberal arts education. I didn't think liberal arts and STEM were necessarily exclusive, depending on the field of study. Now, usually when I hear people talking about liberal arts now, it seems like they equate it with just humanities (occasionally throwing in a "useless" sounding social science like anthropology or sociology, but never the more respectable economics).
I don't think that people in colleges and universities are actually talking about the same thing as journalists and politicians and your mom, who doesn't understand why you didn't major in "STEM" for all the guaranteed jobs. This seems like a bigger PR problem to me. (I'm not sure CCPhysicist and I are talking about the same thing, either, and I am a grad student so I defer based on years in the field, but it does make me wonder whether and how much these definitions differ between schools.)
First, we are talking about the 2-year degree which is even more confusing to journalists and politicians than a 4-year liberal arts degree!
I think we are talking about the same thing, but the details of how any particular university is organized make it difficult to generalize. I am familiar with places where the liberal arts and the natural sciences are in separate colleges as well as ones where they are in the same college. I'm pretty sure I've heard of at least one place where math is not in with the natural sciences. Either way, medicine and engineering are usually in separate colleges, but it can get confusing if you ask there the T fields are found. Computer Science can be anywhere someone decided to start it (liberal arts college or engineering college). Ditto for various kinds of information technology.
(If you want to have a really long conversation, start an argument about what constitutes a PURE science or a PURE art!)