Goals & Priorities in Universities

free essayEducational institutions, in particular the ones of higher education, are entailed to prepare the professionals responsible for the development of the economy, medicine, and other industries of the country, as well as to form the perception of the young generation. To begin, the following universities of Seattle, Stanford, and California offer a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the disciplines of business management, medicine, law and the humanities. First of all, the specialized and interdisciplinary programs are aimed to prepare the highly-qualified professionals, who will be able to provide an excellent service in their areas of specialty and be beneficial for their communities and country overall. Regarding the academic part, in the official description, the mentioned universities claim to offer innovative programs to the potential students. They make it vivid that leadership and innovation are regarded as the prominent parts of any successful education in almost any field of specialization (“Stanford Bulletin 2015-16”). In particular, in the descriptions of the courses, the universities emphasize the necessity of finding innovative ways to problem-solving, finding new approaches, and implementing new ideas in order to put economy, medicine, and other industries on a new level. To ensure the productive learning process, the institutions expect such qualities as dedication and commitment to studies from their potential students.

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Secondly, another important issue that the universities of Seattle, Stanford, and California bring into focus is social awareness of the students. They emphasize the importance of developing the ethical issues and raising ethical awareness among the students. Thus, the Stanford University aims to develop the responsible leaders that would be committed to the common good.  They expect candidates to be socially aware and to engage with the local communities (Stanford University). It should be noted that some educational institutions resort to religion and traditions as a part of the valuable standards promoted by the establishments. For example, the Seattle University follows Jesuit traditions, which focus on developing in students not only a good personality and spirituality but also the feeling of being a part of a community (Seattle University).  In the process of studying, the students are supposed to learn from each other, share their knowledge with others, and learn to be part of a community. In general, the universities promote the idea of respect for order, morality, and in particular, the rights of others, which are regarded as the essential qualities of a good American citizen. The last feature is especially common for the American culture, as the USA is proclaimed to be the country of equal opportunities for everyone regardless of implicit or explicit differences.
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Naturally, the education goals of the undergraduate and postgraduate programs in different disciplines may vary significantly. It is due to the fact that they are designed to meet the specific learning needs in each area of specialization and ensure a productive learning process. In fact, some common global objectives and means of their realization can be outlined. In particular, the educational programs focus on the scientific research as a prominent part of the successful education process. Moreover, it is regarded as an effective tool that enriches the learning experience in a number of disciplines including humanities, social, and natural sciences. For example, Stanford Medicine School strongly emphasizes the transformational biomedical platforms and the fundamental research as the driving forces of the advancing knowledge leading to the breakthrough inventions and innovations (Stanford Medicine). The University of California offers modern laboratories and scientific advisors’ assistance for students of the faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources (University of California). Furthermore, the universities offer various internships and hands-on projects in engineering, technologies, and natural sciences. Overall, the educational institutions prioritize obtaining practical skills and relevant knowledge via conducting physical research and projects.

Interestingly, according to American Cultural Pattern: A Cross-Cultural Perspective, such a vivid focus of the universities on the research and experimental learning may stem from the American model of thinking and the culture of pragmatism (Stewart and Bennett). It is due to the idea that Americans are likely to focus more on the operational procedures and rational thinking based on the objective reality with measurable qualities (Stewart and Bennett). People tend to trust the empirical, measurable, and thus unbiased facts and data. Consequently, students are taught to make a decision on a basis of factual information after conducting the profound research of a problem from the relevant discipline. Adequate and thorough evaluation of the options is regarded as the best way to find a solution, while such factors as intuition and personal perception are not taken into account.  Thus, the students as future professionals, are supposed to use the inductive thinking approach, which relies on available data to form the hypothesis (Stewart and Bennett).

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Finally, the university programs are aimed to develop particular professional and personal skills in the future graduates. Firstly, one of the major goals of the institutions of higher education is to prepare the flexible professionals who will be able to anticipate and adapt to the trends in the rapidly changing world (“2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog”). The thing is that the particular industries like economy and medicine are developing at a blistering pace and are characterized with a high competition level; thus, the professionals who are able to learn fast and adapt to the changes are required. Besides, the graduates should be able to predict the tendencies in the industry that can affect a particular company or business. For example, the Business School of Stanford aims to teach the students to redefine the business plans and develop an effective go-to-market strategy to maximize the chances to succeed. Notably, it stems from the notion of American technicism, the approach common for American culture when statistics is used to predict future figures and anticipate risk factors (Stewart and Bennett). Such an approach is implemented not only in business administration and economy but in other industries as well, such as medicine, agriculture, and natural resources.

Next, the students are encouraged to develop good leadership skills. In particular, such qualities as problem solving, decision-making, and conflict resolution are essential for the graduates who are potential employees. For example, the Business School of Stanford focuses on developing leadership skills through the problem-solving management program (Stanford Graduate School of Business). Moreover, leadership is closely connected with innovation, which is one of the major issues in the modern education provided by American universities. Such a focus on the notions of leadership and innovation can be explained by the assumption that an individual achievement is highly valued in the American culture. Thus, students are strongly encouraged to present their original ideas, experiment with new techniques, and bring the difference. Although the modern educational programs are aimed to develop leadership skills and moderate competitiveness in students, they still emphasize the need for effective communication and the development of team-building skills. The future professionals should be able to cooperate in order to find the optimal and negotiated solutions. Therefore, such applied skills as negotiation and teamwork as well as leadership and innovation are aimed to be developed in the students.

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To summarize, the primary goals of the modern educational programs of the American universities are to not only broaden intellectual development and gain specialized knowledge but also to raise social awareness of the students as the valuable members of the community. The specialized and interdisciplinary programs are designed in a way to stimulate the students to gain knowledge through conducting scientific and physical research. Such an approach reflects the American cultural patterns, in particular, tendency to inductive thinking, culture of pragmatism, and technicism.  Moreover, the graduates of the universities are supposed to develop such essential skills as flexibility, leadership, innovation, effective communication, and teamwork.