While a university education usually leads to better career prospects, that is not the only benefit it brings to individuals or to society. Beyond our own curiosity and passion about a particular subject, and our own career prospects, Liberal Education encourages us to think about the broader uses of our knowledge and skills, and about how we can make the world better. This means being engaged in our communities, at all levels from the local to the global, including as citizens.
This idea of education for citizenship goes back to the ancient Greeks. What has changed is the scope of that citizenship: when the Greeks and Romans thought about the best form of government and citizenship, they thought in terms of the city-state, and of course they excluded women, and slaves, and “barbarians” (non-Greeks) from their citizenship. It was only centuries later, starting with the Enlightenment and the American and French Revolutions and continuing on into the 20th century, that we have extended our concept of citizen to be much more inclusive. And indeed we now talk about a global society, and global citizenship, and about basic HUMAN rights as enshrined by the United Nations for instance.
Thus a basic question to consider is what it means to be a good citizen, of our country and of our world, in the early 21st century. Liberal Education advocates for two responses: first we that we make informed decisions, based insofar as possible on evidence and reasoning; and secondly that we make decisions based not on narrow self-interest, but on careful consideration of what is good for the group.