Liberal Education, Spring 2009

Current Issue

Spring2009Vol.95No.2

Special Issue: Liberal Education and the Disciplines

Drawing from a recent initiative of the Teagle Foundation, this issue presents a series of reports on the relationship between the goals and objectives of liberal education and those of the undergraduate major in each of six disciplines: biochemistry and molecular biology, classics, economics, English and foreign languages, history, and religious studies.

Table of Contents

By W. Robert Connor
Over the years, majors have changed and so has our understanding of liberal education. Would the leaders of scholarly disciplines, then, be willing to take a fresh look at the relationship between the undergraduate major and liberal education? There was one way to find out…

By David Tritelli

Featured Topic

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Although expressed in language specific to the sciences, the skills emphasized in the recommended curriculum for the bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology mirror the learning outcomes recommended by AAC&U.

The Center for Hellenic Studies
The goal of studying undergraduate programs in classics was both to develop a better sense of how the major fits within the broader agenda of liberal education and to generate reflection and discussion among practitioners and stakeholders in the field.

By David Colander and KimMarie McGoldrick
If the economics major is to make the best possible contribution to the liberal education of undergraduate students, then much more discussion is needed about the content and focus of the economics major as well as how that content is taught.

The Modern Language Association
A twenty-first-century liberal education must promote the linguistic powers, humanistic skills of analysis and argument, and cross-cultural awareness required for receiving and articulating ideas on an international stage, where the capacity to work comfortably in more than one language is the expectation and the norm.

The National History Center
History's contribution to liberal education can be enhanced by a more explicit understanding of the relationship between the history major and the broader goals and processes of liberal learning, and through consideration of that relationship in discussions about the curriculum.

The American Academy of Religion
The evolving nature of the field—both with regard to global events and to the changing nature of the discussion of values within the modern academy—necessitates a reassessment of the undergraduate religion major and its role in advancing the larger goals of liberal education. 

My View

By Alain de Botton
Too often, head-on assaults on the great questions are abandoned to the second-rate efforts of gurus and motivational speakers. It is time for high culture to reappropriate them and to consider them with all the rigor and seriousness currently too often lavished on topics of minor relevance.

Previous Issues