Essay on What Role Should Higher Education Institutions Play

Essay on What Role Should Higher Education Institutions Play

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What role should higher education institutions play in its students’ lives? This is a question that many ask and debate. As Brighouse and McPherson ask, “should they simply teach students skills and academic knowledge or should they play a role in shaping character”…, (Brighouse and McPherson, pg. 2, 2015). Even though this is a debate that has gone on for so long the answer seems eerily simple. One aspect of students’ lives that higher education institutions should play a role in, is shaping its students’ characters. So, instead of the student focusing primarily on personal wealth and social status, they focus on being better citizens that offer support for their communities locally and globally. Not only is this a role the institutions should take on it is also in my opinion, a moral issue that should be imperative to the holistic education that our students receive.
We are living in a society that is pushing merit or personal success over character and this is ever-present in the higher education system (Guinier, 2015). If the role of higher education is to educate and shape a students’ character one must look first understand what character and merit are and then look at how higher education institutions can take on the role of shaping one 's character. However, one must be wary of putting the shaping of one’s character solely on the shoulders of higher education institutions. As Bertram suggests those who do not attend higher education institutions do not lack character, yet what they may miss is the shaping that can only be explored and taught in higher education institutions (Bertram, 2015). The more higher education institutions, rely primarily on tests and grades for evidence of learning the more our society will cont...

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...r attending private high schools that offer better college preparation (Guinier, 2015). Guinier believes this idea of merit that is part of the educational system is what causes students to believe they are better than their peers and that they need to look out for themselves instead of looking to help others (Guinier, 2015).
Both authors believe their specific view of merit is clearly seen in the fabric of higher education from the application process through graduation. For example when Guinier discusses the story of the student who brags about his SAT score to when she describes how Yale proudly defined their 2009 class “by the numbers” (Guinier, pg. 9, 2015). Not once in these situations did the educational system portray any traits of character that the students’ gained from these experiences, or how they can use these attributes to help the collective good.

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