The Quality of a Liberal Arts College Education

December 7, 2011

Here’s one president of a liberal arts college thumping the recent Annapolis Group study that shows graduates of liberal arts colleges are more pleased with their education than graduates of other kinds of colleges and universities.  At least this president (Sweet Briar’s JoEllen Parker) acknowledges that the study is “more of a J.D. Power consumer satisfaction survey than a Consumer Reports study.”

So why not a Consumer Reports-type study that aims to show whether or not these institutions are more effective at inducing learning?  In the National Survey of Student Engagement and the Collegiate Learning Assessment, we have tools that begin to get at that question.  I’m sure we’ll have better instruments in the future, but why not start now?

Search the websites of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges.  Only a few will make publicly available what they know about whether and how students are learning.


About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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