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'The liberal arts are not dying,' according to editorial

October 1, 2010


This morning's Inside Higher Education features two editorials detailing the relevance - and durability - of a liberal arts education. In "Liberal Arts I: They Keep Chugging Along," W. Robert Connor, the former president of the Teagle Foundation, and Cheryl Ching, a Teagle program officer, write that the reports of the death of the liberal arts has been greatly exaggerated.  

"The on-the-ground stories back up the statistics and reinforce the idea that the liberal arts are not dying, despite the soft job market and the recent recession," they write. A liberal arts education "is, as many have argued before, a powerful form of education, a point that students, the statistics and anecdotes show, agree with."

A second editorial, penned by Richard A. Greenwald of Drew University, assumes that the liberal arts are alive and well. And in the same edition of IHE, he says why. In "Liberal Arts II: The Economy Requires Them," Greenwald says that "Many of the skills needed to survive and thrive in the new economy are exactly those a well-rounded liberal arts education has always provided: depth, breadth, knowledge in context and motion, and the search for deeper understanding. It will not be easy to explain to future students and their parents that a liberal arts degree may not lead to a particular “job” per se, because jobs in the traditional sense are disappearing. But, we can make a better case about how a liberal arts education leads to both a meaningful life and a successful career."

With liberal arts lifers, and "in practice" evangelists, all over campus, Beloiters could certainly add a few lines (if not chapters) to these two pieces. Got something to say? Throw in your thoughts in the "Comments" section of either piece.