I was in a meeting the other day that most people only dream of. The group was trying to decide what the difference was between a BA (Bachelor of Arts) and a BS (Bachelor of Science) degree.
The answer is, it really varies. It even varies from subject area to subject area. Probably most of the time, the difference is whether you take a language or not. Physics major with a year of German, BA. Music major with no language, BS.
Does it make sense? Not necessarily. But I don't expect things to make sense. It's one of the secrets to my success. :-)
Actually, at a certain point, the drive to order and standardization can be the enemy of innovation and functionality. In this age, a house of brands is far more likely to survive than a brand of houses, IMO.
I did have a passing thought in this meeting, one that probably would never fly anywhere. But I think running through it gives a sense of the whacky place we're at in education.
Given the education climate--drive to reduce costs, drive to do gen eds online or locally, drive to cut down the number of years--I wondered if the BS degree somewhere might become a "light infantry" degree, shorter than the BA. BA minus most of the liberal arts = BS.
So the advantage of the BS would be shorter and cheaper. It would focus on the knowledge and skills of a specific discipline.
How would you market the BA then? You'd say, "A person with a BA is probably going to be a better thinker." "A person with a BA will be better equipped to make ethical decisions." "The BA person will probably do better with interpersonal relationships." "The BA person will likely make a better leader."
Now for the reality check. Do the liberal arts do these things now in our college curricula? Or do we just make students take a set of courses they perceive to be irrelevant even after they have taken them. If so, then we educators are responsible for killing the liberal arts by making them boring and irrelevant.
I have never questioned the value of the liberal arts in education. I have always questioned the value of how ineffectively we seem to teach them.