Magazine October 5, 2009, Issue

College Lite

A look at the transformation the bachelor's degree has undergone, and the transformation it needs

Colleges continue organizing their programs around the old four-year bundle of general-education courses, a major, and some electives for two main reasons. First, it’s traditional — and colleges and universities tend to be tradition-bound. Second, they like to keep students enrolled and paying tuition as long as possible.

The four-year degree is an artifact of the days when only a small percentage of Americans, the ones who really prized learning, went to college. Most of the students who went were future clerics and scholars. Almost nobody went to college just for the sake of the credential. That began to change in

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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A reader argues that drug dealers are criminals — and if drugs were legalized, they would still be criminals.