National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Spring 2002


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 3:1, Spring/Summer 2002. Copyright © 2002 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


I was intrigued by Sam Schuman’s allegory about liberal arts education using Virginia Lee Burton’s story of The Little House. Sam points out that it was not the little house that changed, but its neighborhood. I would argue that not only the neighborhood changed, but what went on inside the little house. Like most people, my first house was small, and the activities that went on within our house generally centered around a young family and a new career. As the years progressed, I moved to a larger house, and the activities changed from managing teenagers to grandchildren and elderly parents. Like the little house, undergraduate education has changed within and without. In the early years small liberal arts colleges, for example, were able to educate only a few. The research university and its many spin-offs brought democratization. Institutions became open to a much wider spectrum of society. This new university, rather than providing the final polish to an already established upper class, would itself be an avenue toward advancement in the world.