A liberal arts education works for us, no matter what our political leanings are we need it now more than ever i was an admission officer at amherst college for eight years and college counselor at a chicago private school for six. Liberal arts courses help students learn how to ask good questions, process information from many different sources and summarize ideas succinctly ideas will resonate across courses: something taught in a psychology class may apply to art history or philosophy, for example.
Since students are considered to have received a comprehensive liberal arts education at gymnasiums, very often the role of liberal arts education in undergraduate programs at universities is reduced compared to the us educational system.
That has put liberal arts colleges on the defensive, with many people questioning the practical value of spending four years in an 'ivory tower' educational setting in response, the leaders of many liberal arts colleges have jumped into the fray to reinforce the core reasons why a liberal arts education is, in fact, right for the times. The ideal of a liberal arts, or humanistic education grounded in classical languages and literature, persisted until the middle of the twentieth century modern usage some subsections of the liberal arts are in the trivium—the verbal arts: grammar, logic, and rhetoric and in the quadrivium—the numerical arts: music, and astronomy. In my 14-year tenure as president i have often been asked to define and defend the notion of a useful liberal arts education the general public has difficulty associating the liberal arts with anything useful. A liberal arts education provides this grounding most people will have six to 10 jobs during their careers, and liberal arts majors are the most adaptable to new circumstances.
A useful liberal arts education was essentially entrepreneurial but for all the novelty and potent force in this disruptive technology in american higher education introduced by the founding fathers, we know little about how a liberal arts education actually becomes useful — that is, how the study of the liberal arts converts to material.
In response, the leaders of many liberal arts colleges have jumped into the fray to reinforce the core reasons why a liberal arts education is, in fact, right for the times the essence of the argument is this: with today's fast-paced, continuously changing marketplace, a narrow, job-specific education ill-prepares graduates for an uncertain future. Amid all the current discussion of the value of a liberal education, and the pressure on colleges and universities to articulate benefits and career outcomes, the role of the arts is particularly important. I believe that universities, and especially the liberal arts, offer a powerful antidote to this ill it is by studying great ideas, important texts, culture, and history that we teach our students to be critical consumers of ideas.
It would become the oldest coed liberal arts college in the nation and the first to admit students of all races it would see its first african-american graduate become the first black lawyer admitted to the bar in the state of new york and play an integral role in the early years of howard university.