Virginia Tech is a university, but not "the university."
The university is not a campus with buildings; it is a metaphysical ideal, a Platonic form, an abstraction, an unattainable perfection. It is the embodiment of education and learning.
Philosopher Robert M. Pirsig states the university is “that great heritage of rational thought that has been brought down to us through the centuries.”
All colleges possess some of its traits; however, one can never possess them all. Its values are the expansion and proliferation of human knowledge in its entirety. The university should strive to awaken and catalyze the innate curiosity present in all — the quest for all knowledge.
In order to achieve the goals of the university in a pragmatic way, specificity of knowledge is required. The fragmentation of knowledge is a necessary evil.
Without independent subjects, learning would be a futile exercise. No student can possibly learn all of human knowledge, and in order for humanity’s knowledge to be expanded, the practical university requires concentration in a single field.
While these imperfections are unavoidable, it does not mean a university should not strive to approximate and approach the values of the university. The objectives are still the same, and students should be bestowed with as much knowledge and exposed to as many subjects as possible.
When anything is learned, it is contributing to the achievement of all knowledge. However, when a student understands how a specific piece of knowledge fits into the encompassing canvas of all-known information, it ignites the passion for education — similar to how individual pieces of a puzzle are meaningless unless the resulting picture is viewed beforehand.
Unless human knowledge is viewed as a whole, specific subjects are meaningless as well. A respect for knowledge encourages an individual and personal desire to learn. The student is imparted with the most valuable stimulus, and the pupil will yearn for information even without external motivation.
General education at Tech is an essential facet of every student’s instruction. The curriculum for every major should require a large degree of focus on knowledge as a whole.
Every student should be instructed within a framework that encourages the student to see information as simply partitions of a larger idea.
The Curriculum for Liberal Education requirements provided by Virginia Tech is beneficial to the goals of the university. Tech’s general education system is necessary, but perhaps able to be improved.