The fact that liberal arts education provides students with necessary job and leadership skills is “reassuring,” but “it misses the point of what an education really is” (Colletta, 2010, p. 3).
It develops “critical thinking and the ability to synthesize” (Weight, 2010, p. 9)
The Importance of a Liberal Arts Education
The Importance of aLiberal Arts Education CARLY ANNE RAVNIKAR 2012
Overview Answer the Question:Why is a liberal arts education important to undergraduate students? Evidence of effectiveness in achieving outcomes Significance of those outcomes to the undergraduate student The “true value” of liberal arts
The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is committed to:Offering high-quality academic programsrooted in the tradition of a liberal educationin the arts, sciences andprofessions, responsive to theoccupational, civic and cultural needs of theregion
What is a Liberal Arts Education?A liberal arts education emphasizes “practical skills, regardless of field ofstudy or intended career”This includes (but is not limited to): “moral reasoning […] and problem solving” “inclination to inquire and lifelong learning” “intercultural effectiveness” “leadership” (Seifert et al, 2008, p. 108, 121)
Even More … Effective communication Critical thinking Ethic and civic responsibility Quantitative literacy (Anderson, 2012, p. 3)
How Do We Know That?There is “empirical evidence for the benefits of liberal arts education.” Who cares, dude? Evidence! … mrph (Seifert et al, 2008, p. 122-123)
What do Employers Want In an Employee?Association of American Colleges and Universities study revealed: 89% “wanted more emphasis on „the ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing” 81% wanted “critical thinking sand analytical reasoning skills” 70% wanted “the ability to innovate and be creative” (Zernike, 2009, p. 2)
What do Employers Want In an Employee? “Employers say all the time that they value clarity of writing and verbal expression, and that they often find liberal-arts graduates expert in both.” (Meacham, 2010, p. 2)
Can You Guess What They Have In Common? Liberal arts education prepares students “to take on responsibilities of leadership.” (Weight, 2010, p. 5)
Liberal Arts Develops Leadership “Leadership programs for students, when combined with curricula that focus upon leadership […] and coupled with extracurricular programs that engage students with their communities, can produce liberally educated social entrepreneurs who are committed to addressing social problems through innovative solutions that are empowering and produce value- added outcomes.” (Hines, 2005, p. 6)
Liberal Arts Equates Management Potential Liberal arts develops “skills that corporate American now clamors for in college graduates” and “these skills are tools for intellectuals and the managerial class.” (Anderson, 2012, p. 3)
But …… That‟s not what makes liberal arts important …
It‟s MoreIt‟s more than “merely vocational training” (Colletta, 2010, p. 1). It‟s more than “getting books from the library, making copies of articles, and proofreading documents” (Weight, 2010, p. 9).
It‟s More “The liberal arts are not valuable because they are useful politically or vocationally. They are valuable because they are what constitute real knowledge.” “These are attributes that construct citizens, not merely workers.”(Colletta, 2010, p. 2, 4)
Expect More The “ideal-liberally educated student of the twenty-first century is a lifelong learner who is open-minded, tolerant, intellectually curious, courageous, self-actualizing” (Hines, 2005, p. 4).This student “values education for its own sake” (Weight, 2010, p. 4).
The Importance Revealed A liberal arts education prepares “people for a good life, not just the good life.” (Meacham, 2010, p. 2)
Go Fill Your Toolbox!“The truth is … students think too much about majors … … but the major isn‟t nearly as important as the toolbox of skills you come out with and the experiences you have.” (Zernike, 2009, p. 3)
ReferencesAnderson, J. M. (2012). Why Community-College Students Need Great Books. Chronicle Of Higher Education, 58(29), A68. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.Colletta, L. (2010). The Ultimate Utility of Nonutility. Academe, 96(5), 28-31. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.Hines Jr., S. M. (2005). The Practical Side of Liberal Education: An Overview of Liberal Education and Entrepreneurship. Peer Review, 7(3), 4-7. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.Meacham, J. (2010). IN DEFENSE OF THE LIBERAL ARTS. Newsweek, 155(3), 5. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.Seifert, T., Goodman, K., Lindsay, N., Jorgensen, J., Wolniak, G., Pascarella, E., & Blaich, C. (2008). The Effects of Liberal Arts Experiences on Liberal Arts Outcomes. Research In Higher Education, 49(2), 107-125. doi:10.1007/s11162-007-9070-7. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.Weight, G. (2010). The Integrity and Integrality of Student Research at a Liberal Arts College. Peer Review, 12(2), 9-12. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.Zernike, K. (2009). Making College „Relevant.‟ New York Times. Retrieved from NYTimes.Com.