Don’t Give Up on the Liberal Arts

08/29/2018 CHRC

Don’t Give Up on the Liberal Arts

Should colleges only offer majors with “clear career pathways?” It’s a valid question. I will confess. My major was interdisciplinary – studying the interconnectedness of economics, politics, regions, and history. At its heart was a liberal arts foundation with the requirement of two courses in each of these disciplines: theology, philosophy, and English literature.

I had scanned the article below at the beginning of the summer when it was first published. But a conversation I had last week forced me to re-read it.

I was lucky enough to have lunch with a rising college junior who was filling me in on her summer internship. As this article highlights, too many universities seem willing to throw out the liberal arts in order to embrace STEM, in fact in order to eliminate vast swaths of the liberal arts to make more rooms for but STEM.  Yet at lunch this young woman regaled me with what her main task had been all summer: translating all of the work that the programmers were doing (you know, those kids who can’t seem to move beyond STEM) so that the rest of the world could understand what they were doing, and whether they were accomplishing anything that anyone else was interested in.

I’m going to make wild for prediction here:  Too few people are going to possess the skill set that a liberal arts education gives: the ability to read, synthesize, detect critical issues, write a topic sentence, and be understood by a wide audience.  In the long run, the world will be clamoring for those who have honed their logic skills thanks to Plato’s Dialogues, cultivated their empathy via Shakespeare’s characters, and nurtured ethical decision making because of the theological and moral frameworks they learned.

So I for one, will not be giving up on the liberal arts just yet. Read More Here