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Professional Education

"What once was the goal of education, to provide continuity for a culture in which freedom and rationality would prevail, has given way to preparation for narrow professional careers." -Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership

Professional education trains experts in specific fields such as medicine, law, business, accounting, engineering, etc. Professional education uses a competitive conveyor belt methodology to establish a standard that our society depends on for safety, efficiency and order. The law student is trained to handle legal issues, the medical student to effectively handle medical situations, the manager to handle business concerns.

Such students are trained to be creative, to pull together information and use it to make decisions and marshal the talents and resources under their stewardship. Their specialized knowledge makes them valuable as experts in their fields, and an important part of an interdependent system where experts tell each other when their knowledge is to be applied depending on the scope of their expertise.

Professional education does what it's designed to do: create expertise. In doing so, it also generates an "expert class" whose explanations, recommendations and standards are trusted and valued by the general public.

These are the servile, mechanical or vocational arts and are most often associated with the practical matters of providing goods and services and earning a living.

Another type of expertise comes from training in the fine arts.  These arts of refinement allow one to create and appreciate beauty through music, dance, painting, sculpture, poetry and so on.  Not usually associated with earning a living, the fine arts nevertheless play a crucial role in society, enriching us, uniting us and speaking to our souls.

When we need a doctor, a lawyer or a musician, we are glad they are well prepared. Institutions established for training in the vocational and fine arts have been very effective in achieving their goals, but typically they do not provide nor is their service a substitute for the liberal arts, also known as leadership education.

Next Model: Leadership Education

 

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