Roth: Universities Must Ensure Quality and Equality

In an opinion piece for a recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth discusses how colleges and universities, like secondary schools, must reverse the trends of limiting access to intellectual and social opportunities for all their students, regardless of economic background. Roth says that specialization has received too much emphasis and that “many people have pointed out that higher education itself is beset by problems that undermine its ability to provide students with this flexible, pragmatic framework for lifelong learning. Take, for example, the powerful, long-term trends toward specialization in university culture, trends that have a decidedly negative impact on undergraduate education…At many colleges, this has led to a fragmentation of intellectual life, with powerful departments defending their own interests without regard to the welfare of the institution as a whole.”