Higher education needs to educate people in every field who have ethical autonomy and the courage to act upon it—who possess knowledge, skill, and the highest values of their vocations. Can such an education become a reality? Yes, if we who educate can think and act like the new professionals we need to raise up.
The education of the new professional will offer students real-time chances to translate feelings into knowledge and action by questioning and helping to develop the program they are in. I am not imagining a student uprising but rather an academic culture that invites students to find their voices about the program itself, gives them forums for speaking up, rewards rather than penalizes them for doing so, and encourages faculty and administrative responsiveness to student concerns.
What would the education of the new professional look like? How might we prepare students to be teachers, lawyers, physicians, and clergy—to say nothing of parents and neighbors and citizens—who can help transform the institutions that dominate our lives? I have five immodest proposals: