Difference between LAC and "liberal arts curriculum" in unis

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Discus: College Search and Selection: September 2003 Archive: Difference between LAC and "liberal arts curriculum" in unis
By Rocksolid4 (Rocksolid4) on Sunday, September 21, 2003 - 05:09 pm: Edit

How profound is the difference between an education at a place like Swarthmore and an education at a place like Yale, for example.
Both claim to want to create well rounded pepole, are people who come out of a "liberal arts uni" (Harvard, Yale, Brown, Georgetown) as well rounded as those who come out of an elite LAC?

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Sunday, September 21, 2003 - 06:17 pm: Edit

The biggest difference I encountered in LACs versus liberal arts programs at universities is the infamous grad student. Most LACs make undergraduates their main focus. They do not have graduate programs. So professors tend to teach the courses. They do not have as much research or publishing concerns. At any school with graduate programs, you have the grad student. Most grad programs have fellowships and other things to help pay for the graduate school tuition. One of the ways graduate students earn their way through grad school is by teaching undergraduate courses at the university. So you get the grad student as an instructor, grader, section leader, etc at these schools. The professors, particularly the full profs or famous profs are not going to teach lower level course, mark or read those papers. If they do teach, they generally have a large lecture, with grad students to do all the other work, including answering questions that students may have, teaching the small group seminars, grading exams and papers.
The problem with this system is that many of these grad student though good at their subject often do not know how the course is configures nor do they have teaching experience. If they are foreign, they don't know how things work in this country and often don't speak English well. Many hate doing this job and do so just because they have to.
In a LAC, teaching the undergraduates is the main focus.

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