"Teaching truth and training our students for the jobs of tomorrow are not — and must never be viewed as — inseparable," Michael A. McRobbie, president of Indiana University, writes in this commentary for The Huffington Post.
We live in what some call a "post-truth era," McRobbie said, "a time in which there is a growing and disturbingly widespread disregard of truth, and truth is increasingly ignored in favor of prejudice. Today we routinely witness rampant attacks on established knowledge, a fundamental rejection in some quarters of basic science, and political upheaval around the globe driven by wild claims and spurious statistics."
"In a contentious political climate that underscores the deep divisions within our country, it is even more vital that colleges and universities reaffirm their commitment to educating students for a lifetime of active citizenship," McRobbie said. "And doing so means they must not close themselves off from challenging conversations. Just the opposite: It means ensuring that campuses remain places that protect free and open expression, and encourage students to engage with a diversity of ideas and viewpoints — even those they might strongly disagree with and which make them uncomfortable."
McRobbie added that colleges and universities must also help students develop the skills "to critically evaluate the massive volume of new ideas and information they are constantly bombarded with in today’s digital age."
"Our society has a vital need for those with such an education — for those trained in truth and who have a reverence for truth."