The future of the Liberal Arts

I have written in previous posts about my fear that the Liberal Arts are losing their relevance in the eyes of society. In this TED talk 1 Liz Coleman, president of Bennington College, highlights some of the things I have been thinking about the state of many Liberal Arts colleges. While I do not think that things are as dire as she makes them out to be, I do think that Wooster’s curriculum needs to change. We need to have more inter-disciplinary courses. It strikes me as odd that we offer over 400 courses a semester and yet less than 20 are inter-disciplinary. I’m not sure if our current curriculum was designed to address the principles she highlights (Rhetoric, Design, Mediation, Improvisation, and Quantitative Reasoning), but I would like to see us revisit the curriculum with an eye toward increasing inter-disciplinary work. I hope President Coleman’s remarks make you think about the nature of a Liberal Arts education and whether we have strayed from the path.

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