“Liberal Arts and the Wealth of Nations” at Senior College in Alexandria

lifelong learning

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Today I’ll be giving a talk at the Senior College of West Central Minnesota.  According to their website, “Senior College is a lecture series for adults in West Central Minnesota. A variety of quality, college level lectures with scholars from across the state stimulate learning and fuel curiosities in a congenial setting at the Alexandria Technical & Community College. ”

This will be my fifth solo session since 2013, covering topics ranging from deficits and taxes to Minnesota’s economic history. Today it’s “The Liberal Arts and the Wealth of Nations,” based on a talk I gave last spring to our Phi Beta Kappa chapter and an article I published in MinnPost.

I also participated in a “state of the economy” session last year with Gary Eichten and Chris Farrell that was broadcast on MPR.  We’ll do it again on April 26 at 3:15 pm.

I’ve done sessions like these at the Center for Lifelong Learning at Central Lakes College and at the Third Age University at the Whitney Senior Center in St. Cloud.  I always learn something and hope the participants feel the same way.

The question I always leave with is, why don’t we have a network of these sessions throughout Minnesota?  For instance, couldn’t the MNSCU system take the Alexandria model and replicate it throughout the system?  We could have scholars bring their knowledge to local communities and return to their campuses with the ideas and concerns of citizens, ideas and concerns that scholars need to address.

One of the points I’ll make in today’s talk is that economic growth is powered as much by ideas as by machines. We need to ensure that lifelong learning spreads throughout Minnesota if we want to retain our economic vibrancy.  This applies both to the senior college model as well as people who are just trying to keep up with the world in which they live.

I’m not an entrepreneur but if someone out there can figure out how to make this work let me know.