Rolf E. Hummel: A university, not a job training center

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 12, 2012 at 2:27 p.m.

I read in The Sun that the governor's higher education task force will recommend to Gov. Rick Scott that “students seeking degrees that are highly sought by employers would get a break on tuition, but others might pay higher rates.”

This seems to be extremely short-sighted. It causes many young people to study subjects that do not exactly match their natural abilities, talents and interests.

Later in life these people may then have to work in fields in which they are not really good at, or are unhappy.

Furthermore, who knows if, by the end of a student's education, the same fields of employment are still as wide open as they were at the beginning?

Arguing in the way of the task force implies that since we have already too many lawyers, law students should pay a much higher tuition.

The task force has obviously overlooked that we at UF do not train our students for a specific job but instead educate them to become better human beings who are compassionate to humankind, well-rounded, and knowledgeable about the world and its environment.

What is next? Maybe this task force will soon recommend abolishing humanities, music or arts classes, similarly as the governor stated that we need less anthropologists.

We, at the University of Florida, are determined to be an institute of higher learning and not a training center. I wish I could be a member of the “governor's higher education task force” to teach its members on the true meaning of education.

Rolf E. Hummel is a professor emeritus in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida.

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