Newman and The English Major John Newman's ideas of education, knowledge, and intellectual fitness are well-formed and truthful. As related to my major, English, it reveals some interesting trends and practices. Although the English major isn't a real big money-maker, like being a lawyer or doctor, and it generally focuses on literature and creativity, the courses still concentrate on the utility of what is being learned. Although one can sometimes see the relationships between courses, and thereby understand them in respects to each other and draw some connection, this interaction is rarely stated explicitly in those courses.
One of Newman's key ideas is that liberal knowledge (knowing how to think with versatility) is necessary for the more effective and more adaptable use of particular knowledge. A class that has allowed me to think and learn in this way was ENG 3014, Theories of Literature. I took the class twice for the purpose of raising my grade; the first time with Dr.
Campbell and the second time with Dr. Logan. In this class I learned various critical literary theories and how to apply them to any text, communication, or other form of expression. Although these theories are based on application, it is the application of a thought process; an analysis which can be adapted and imposed on whatever I choose, which I can choose at my leisure, not just useful in one specific situation.
However, most classes only teach facts, lessons, and the direct applications for them. Even the general studies courses and survey courses are taught as thought all the knowledge taught were to be used, not knowledge to savor and help heighten the intellect or thought process. To get an Associate's degree for example, one must fulfill certain requirements, such as "natural science." Instead of the class being...