National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Spring/Summer 2015, Volume 16, Number 1.


Copyright © 2015 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


In a world that no longer privileges thinking, we might need to consider what we are asking of our students—and why—when we ask them to think. What follows is a manifesto of how honors education can serve as a resistant force against the increasing encroachment of a wholly utilitarian concept of education. With the costs of higher education on the rise, the call to justify getting a college degree has been indissolubly linked to the ability to obtain a job once the student graduates. What has been lost along the way is the justification of getting an education for the sake of enriching one’s life and one’s community, a model of education that is increasingly available only to the privileged. The humanities have taken the brunt of criticism aimed at such a justification, but the jobs-based model that so preoccupies social discourse is a misguided objective that will eventually turn our work force into semiliterate specialists whose main task is to keep the economy moving.