These days students and parents are not always sold on spending time and money on classes like history and Shakespeare. That puts colleges in a novel position of having to sell people on the value of expanding students’ minds through courses in the liberal arts.
So how should professors and college leaders approach the task? Some have stressed the value of developing so-called “soft skills” like critical thinking, and argue that courses in philosophy or classics have real benefits in the job market. Others worry, though, that framing the value of the liberal arts in terms of employment detracts from the importance of nurturing curiosity and citizenship skills, and feel that colleges should be making the case that they are about helping students become fully-developed people, not just good employees.
Where do the liberal arts fit in today’s education and society, and how should colleges communicate that?
We’ll talk with Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges & Universities, who is also president of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. She’s a philosopher by training and a first-generation college student. She’s also served as a president of a liberal arts college, Mount Holyoke College.
She has been making the case for the liberal arts lately, and will share her tips and experiences and answer your questions. We also hope you’ll share how your own campus is tackling the issue.
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