Monday, February 18, 2013

Talking Liberal Arts

There must be something in the (bracing) February air. Just yesterday I received links to two recent articles about the value of a liberal arts education, a subject of literally daily conversation here in the College of Liberal Arts offices in Centennial Hall. In fact, only this morning I had the pleasure of exchanging views on this very topic with an external reviewer who is here to examine our (excellent) philosophy program. We discussed the short-sightedness of focusing narrowly on career preparation in higher education, and he pointed out that our country's strength has historically been in innovation (economically, technologically, culturally), yet many current policy decisions seem to work against fostering an educational environment that promotes innovative, creative thinking.

The first article, recommended by a former colleague, is an opinion piece from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette titled "What is knowledge worth? A liberal arts education has enduring value."

The second, recommended by colleague in the department of Music, Theatre, and Dance, is titled "Theater Education Programs Are in Demand for Workforce Creativity."

Do you want to know a secret? I don't mind talking about the value of a liberal education in terms of career preparation ... especially if we're talking about careers, and not just jobs, and preparation, and not just training. Lots of evidence suggests that a liberal arts education is the best career preparation available.

Food for thought, I hope, on a Monday morning. Check both of these links out and let us know what you think!

--Jim Brown, Dean

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