Critical Thinking Quote Watch: Derek Bok on the Primary Goal of a College Education (and Higher Education’s General Failure at Reaching It)

The following quote comes from Derek Bok’s book, Our Underachieving Colleges (Princeton 2006, p. 8):

Many [college] seniors graduate without being able to write well enough to satisfy their employers. Many cannot reason clearly or perform competently in analyzing complex, nontechnical problems, even though faculties rank critical thinking as the primary goal of a college education.

Perhaps it sounds boring, but I sometimes think of trying to write a book titled Critical Literacy, in which basic issues surrounding critical thinking, critical theory, and critical reading are brought together in a single volume. Since it would be directed at humanities majors, perhaps it could have a zippier title: Critical Literacy for Poets.

Bok’s quote is a bit of a provocation to think about this potential project some more.

File:Botticelli Sant'Agostino.jpg


Image source: Wikipedia Commons (St. Augustine in His Cell, by Botticelli).

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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