The argument goes something like this: liberal education has become the preserve of the few rich in the United States, and is represented at elite Top-50 or Top-100 liberal arts colleges. Meanwhile, other institutions that once had a strong liberal arts presence have, under perceive market pressures, etc., developed increasingly career-oriented curricula, where "liberal education" is represented by a weakening core of courses. The solution, according to this article, is to combine liberal education with career education. The trick is to redefine what liberal education is, and then say that what you have is liberal education. Consider this, for example:
liberal arts means not only a course of study featuring a rich mix of disciplines in the arts and sciences, but also an education that emphasizes skills such as complex problem solving and requirements that students learn to apply classroom curricula to real-world experiences
On the positive end of things, this is a frank realization of the vitality and centrality of liberal education to the higher education enterprise. As the article notes, students at career-oriented institutions like Hamline in St. Paul and LaGuardia Community College are getting some exposure to some elements of liberal education. And yet, it is difficult to understand in just what way this is not essentially a re-tread of the old approach that eroded liberal education in the first place.
This approach is problematic in other ways, too. Is a rhetorical composition class subsumed under a business program the same kind of rhetorical composition offered and exercised in a liberal education? The question is rhetorical. The answer is no. Such a course may have elements of its liberal self, but it is certainly not the same thing.
In the last analysis, in spite of such approaches, or perhaps even because of them, liberal education remains as elite as it ever was, the preserve of those 50 or 100 top liberal arts colleges in the country. This has been the approach of the Lutheran colleges in the confessional ambit, as well, as we have had ample opportunity to point out. But it certainly need not have been that way; nor must it persist.