Across the U.S., quite a few colleges have closed their doors in recent years. With the numbers of students pursuing college degrees in decline (after decades of growth fueled by the notion that getting one was the only path to success), why start a new college now?
You might do so if you believe that you have a distinctively better product than most others are offering. That’s the case with Thales College in Raleigh, N.C., the brainchild of educational entrepreneur Robert Luddy. What is different about Thales? To find out, read today’s Martin Center article by the school’s academic dean, Grattan Brown.
At the typical college or university, students get to choose their courses from among a huge number of offerings — the so-called “distribution requirements” system. The assumption is that the students know what they need to learn.
In contrast, writes Brown, “Here’s how the system works and how Thales College, a new college in Raleigh, North Carolina, makes it work better for students. Thales College combines liberal arts and professional undergraduate curricula so that students develop the intellectual ability, meaningful knowledge, moral character, and professional excellence needed to thrive in life and work. The college’s organized course of study stands in sharp contrast to the mix of courses most colleges offer today.”
Thales offers a set curriculum that was carefully designed to turn young men and women into mature, well-educated citizens ready for life’s challenges. The students receive a common education, so they can all discuss what they’ve been studying. This approach also eliminates a salient problem with the typical college curriculum, namely a host of narrow, trendy courses that reflect a professor’s interests rather than important knowledge for students.
Brown concludes, “An organized curriculum with no electives looks restrictive, but at Thales College it offers the more important freedom to think deeply in an organized way about foundational ideas regarding humanity and society and how they relate to professional work and leadership.”