The Education of American Businessmen: A Study of University-College Programs in Business Administration

By Frank C. Pierson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
HIGHER EDUCATION AND THE PROFESSIONS

Career preparation is a worthy objective of higher education as long as it does not block the individual's maximum intellectual growth. Specialization and vocationalism can corrupt both liberal arts and professional study. Schools in the highly developed professions have set themselves against this twofold danger.

As an increasingly important part of the country's system of higher education, business schools mirror the many changes and influences affecting the nation's colleges and universities. The previous chapter developed the theme that higher education is being extended to all sections of the population and that career preparation in a wide variety of fields is a wholly logical outcome of this trend. Other developments at this level of education have also had a bearing on the emergence of business schools and accordingly deserve attention at an early point in this study.


THE TWO TRADITIONS

Colleges and universities are the product of two distinct and sometimes conflicting traditions. According to the first and more honored of these, knowledge is pursued for its own sake, and the capacity to think is developed as an end in itself. The preservation of man's intellectual heritage and the passing on of society's store of knowledge to succeeding generations is considered the special province of the liberal arts colleges while responsibility for pushing back the boundaries of the known world through research is said to lie particularly with the graduate schools. Both, however, should be dedicated to the enrichment of the individual's life, not for utilitarian purposes but as its own reward.

The distinctive feature of this conception of higher education lies in part in the mastery of certain subject matter but perhaps in greater part in the development of those qualities of mind and spirit which are said to be needed for critical or creative endeavor in all phases of life and which make it possible for the individual to distinguish the first-rate from the

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