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Vocation across the AcademyA New Vocabulary for Higher Education$
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David S. Cunningham

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190607104

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190607104.001.0001

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Unplugging the GPS

Unplugging the GPS

Rethinking Undergraduate Professional Degree Programs

(p.204) 9 Unplugging the GPS
Vocation across the Academy

Jeff R. Brown

Oxford University Press

Undergraduates often progress through their studies as though they were following instructions from a GPS device; they are uncertain of their whereabouts and want to be told their next steps. This is especially true in undergraduate professional degree (UPD) programs, where so much emphasis falls on preparation for a particular job. Unfortunately, this approach has many negative consequences, including a tendency toward what Paulo Freire calls the “banking method” of education, where everything reduces to matters of exchange. Vocational thinking provides an alternative; in UPD programs, this can take the form of greater attention to the liberal arts and more opportunities for service learning and community engagement. In the end, undergraduate students need to turn off the GPS and to appreciate the importance of actual maps, which require us to be more aware of our surroundings and to think about our longer-term destinations, rather than just the next step along the way.

Keywords:   vocation, calling, undergraduate professional degrees, banking method, Paulo Freire, community engagement, service learning, liberal arts, engineering, GPS

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