Saturday, June 30, 2007

Liberal Arts and ROTC

Like many liberal arts colleges, my school has many more women enrolled on campus than men. Every now and then, some of my colleagues and I sit around at lunch and attempt to 'solve' the college's problems. One day in the Spring the problem we were focused on was how to recruit more men - some tried and true methods were thrown around, add football, add wrestling, add engineering, etc. I suggested adding ROTC. My colleagues looked at me like I had grown an extra head. Like I was proposing shipping students off to Iraq immediately or had proclaimed my support for the current military activities in the Middle East. Comments like, 'It would cause too much conflict on campus' to 'We aren't in the business of educating soldiers' were thrown around.

One of my colleagues, however, a former enlisted man in navy argued that those unhappy with the current state of affairs in the military should be the ones who push the hardest to get ROTC offered at liberal arts colleges. Why wouldn't you want officers to have the best kind of critical thinking skills and have been exposed to different viewpoints, international theories, and read widely on many different topics? This type of military official is able to problem solve, think for him/herself, and maybe someday direct the future of the military in a way that takes into account the history and cultures of other nations.

I couldn't agree more. I'd love to see more ROTC offered at more liberal arts colleges. I'd love to see more Harvard or Stanford or Berkley men and women joining the military. I'm not advocating militarizing higher education, but rather finding a way to provide future military leaders with the broadest and best learning opportunities possible.


Tim Lacy said...

Enemies of ROTC on campus often seem to me, as pointed out in this post, shortsighted. I totally agree that we need more critical thinkers (not the same as rebels) in the army. And critical thinkers often appreciate the necessity of hierarchy. - TL

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