East Central College held a Future Summit recently. The objective was to look to the future for the college — to stimulate thoughts about its educational role, responsibility of serving the area community, and to confront change in students’ needs.

The session was part of preparing a new strategic plan, SOAR to 2024.

Stimulating thoughts about the future always is good. Change means adjustments have to be made to be prepared to meet the challenges that we are facing or will face in the near future.

Education is one field in which many changes have been made. Some critics say many of the changes made have resulted in negative results — they have resulted in the “dumbing down” of education.

We can remember when there was an emphasis on the liberal arts to train the mind to be well-rounded, to be able to think and to be qualified to be trainable for many fields of endeavor. The shift away from the liberal arts began many years ago in favor of teaching more technical subjects.

We can remember hearing from some students and parents, how will the liberal arts help me get a job?

Liberal arts graduates find jobs in many fields because their education has prepared them to think and they can adapt to training very readily.

A liberal arts education hones the mind to be flexible in thought and adapting to many job challenges. A liberal arts education opens up a person to an appreciation of what society has produced and is producing in a wide range of fields, from the arts to recreation.

The basics in education — reading, writing and math — have been neglected in many schools. Some of the best educated persons we have encountered have been avid readers, starting at a young age.

Reading and expressing oneself in writing are vital to being a well-rounded, educated person. There has been an emphasis on math and science, and that has taken us to the world we live in today — a technical world.

We hope ECC will not lessen the teaching of the liberal arts in the future. It’s too bad colleges have to teach so many remedial courses to bring students up to the point they can handle college courses.

We should mention we know many non-college graduates who are educated persons because they read, read and obtain their knowledge by reading.