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Good citizens or good workers? What should universities be building?

Have universities missed the mark by focusing too much on specialized education instead of building well rounded, good citizens? Watch live at 4:30 p.m. as Peter Kilpatrick the Dean of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame makes that case to students at McMaster University.

Peter Kilpatrick, Dean of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, delivers the Hodgins Lecture

Have universities missed the mark by focusing too much on specialized education instead of building well rounded, good citizens?

Watch live at 4:30 p.m. as Peter Kilpatrick the Dean of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame makes that case to students at McMaster University during the Hodgins Memorial Lecture.

In an interview posted to the university's website Kilpatrick says "The real purpose of a university education is to equip us well to be good persons and citizens and to contribute importantly to the forging of a just, peaceful, and sustainable society. And this necessarily requires great attention to the formation of important attributes in persons, many of which I will discuss in my lecture."

Dean Peter Kilpatrick of the College of Engineering delivers the 31st annual J.W. Hodgins Memorial Lecture on Tuesday, March 10. (University of Notre Dame)

Would a greater focus on creating well-rounded students have avoided incidents like the one in which members of a fraternity at the University of Oklahoma were caught on video singing a racist chant. In the video several people on a bus participate in a chant that included a racial slur, referenced lynching and indicated black students would never be admitted to OU's chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

Or, closer to home, would a renewed focus on citizen-building rather than specialized skills have changed the culture at McMaster University's engineering program that saw an engineering student group over a songbook containing what the university called “sexist, violent and degrading material.”

The group was suspended after a complaint from a student about the use of the songbook which contained around 25 cheers and includes multiple references to violent rape, murder, incest, bestiality and sex with underage females. It was also rife with misogynistic and homophobic slurs.  

You can watch the lecture live on this page starting at 4:30 p.m. ET. The full lecture will be available for viewing after that, also on this page. Read the full interview with Kilpatrick.

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