The Questions Higher Education Ignores

Oct 28, 2016

With rising student debt nationwide, career placement is often considered the most important marker of a successful stint at university. But Dave Gould, member of the honors faculty and administrator at the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa, says pragmatic, salary-focused concerns can't be the only questions posed to students during their time in school.

"If that's even partially true, then the next question is 'What are they?' And I certainly don't propose to know the answer to that. But what we did is we brought a group of thought leaders from all over the country: CEOs of companies, magicians, storytellers--I mean, all kinds of folks from different kinds of life, each one of them bringing the question, a question, the single question that they believe that they believe college students should be struggling with and higher education should be helping to inform."

That way, it wasn't a single vision pushed on students but rather a sampler of different lenses for students to reconsider their futures through. Gould says that, though these questions are important for people at all stages of life, early 20s are a particularly fruitful time to consider them.

"The timeless, the big questions--who are you, what do you want to do with your life, where do you want to invest your energies and your time--and this is the absolutely perfect window in development to do that. [...] It would a shame to have a place like this with such opportunity for self-discovery and not capitalize on it."

During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with Gould about life direction and career. Andrew Anderson, a realtor in Muscatine who made a later-in-life career switch, also joins the program.