At another level,
students (and their parents) are looking to acquire marketable
skills. Such things aren't really the goal of a
liberal-arts education, but still they can get something of this
sort from us. In my own discipline, Psychology and CogSci
majors who are interested can go on to graduate school in those
areas, of course, or to postgraduate professional school, but
that just kicks the "marketability" issue down the road.
Even with just a bachelor's degree, Psych majors can find
rewarding careers in a variety of human-service fields, and
CogSci majors have computer skills that are needed in a variety
of technical fields. In addition, we can hope that they've
acquired communication skills, written and oral, that will serve
them will in a wide variety of occupations. It's possible
to generate a list of marketable skills like this for majors in
Though it has its roots in Buddhist meditation, a secular practice of mindfulness has entered the American mainstream in recent years, in part through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which he launched at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. Since that time, thousands of studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness in general and MBSR in particular, inspiring countless programs to adapt the MBSR model for schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans centers, and beyond.