More on the Value of Liberal Arts

A timely piece from Inside Higher Ed this week, which relates well to some recent discussions here and there (and elsewhere):

There are numerous headlines about “the death of liberal arts,” and countless stories about student debt lead with the anecdote of the unemployed literature major. Questions about preparing an informed citizenry don’t make headlines.

“There’s a lot of negative press out there about how there’s no value in college, you’re not going to get a job, there’s no value in an English degree,” said Georgia Nugent, president of Kenyon College, a liberal arts college in Ohio.

But it appears that a more concerted effort to make the case for the liberal arts is emerging. In recent weeks, several groups including the Phi Beta Kappa Society and the Council of Independent Colleges have announced efforts to promote the liberal arts…

The major challenge that all these new efforts must confront, however, is why – despite copious data and anecdotes that support the fact that students with liberal arts educations have skills that employers say they’re looking for, earn more over the course of their lives, are more likely to get promotions, and are generally happier and better citizens – their message has not been getting through.

It also includes this quote, which sums up the position of some of us nicely:

“If we as a society lose our understanding of the value of liberal arts in America, then we have lost something crucial to the success of our country,” said Nugent, who is chairing the CIC’s initiative.
And if you make it to the end, you’ll see a(nother) nod to Thomas Jefferson, too.

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