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Liberal Education Winter 2010 Cover

Winter 2010, Vol. 96, No. 1

The Humanities

This issue features the changing role of the humanities in today's academy. It includes articles about the centrality of the arts within the humanities, new data tracking the humanities in both K-12 and higher education, and contemporary challenges faced by those who teach and care about the humanities. Authors present various approaches to making the case for the continued importance of the humanities both for economic success and democratic vitality.




President's Message
Real Reform, Faux Reform: Facing the Cost of the “Through-Put” Follies
By Carol Geary Schneider
We still have a very long way to go to help all college students embrace, achieve, and demonstrate high levels of accomplishment on the essential learning they need. Moreover, we are now facing a new crop of faux reforms that, if adopted, would send us backward.

From the Editor

News and Information


The Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar: Centering Humanistic Study on the Arts
By Helen Vendler
The mutual support of art and learning, the mutual delight each ideally takes in each, can be taken as a paradigm of how the humanities might be integrally conceived and educationally conveyed as inextricably linked to the arts.

How Is Innovation Taught? On the Humanities and the Knowledge Economy
By Dan Edelstein
By providing students with the best opportunities for learning how to innovate, the humanities play a determining role in producing the entrepreneurs, engineers, and designers that make the American economy so productive.

The Humanities: The Case for Data
By Leslie Berlowitz
The Humanities Indicators provide a prototype for collecting data necessary to answer questions about the state of the humanities and how they are faring. For the first time, we have in one place baseline statistics about many areas of concern to the humanities community.

Symposium on Contemporary Challenges
David Barry offers advice on teaching the humanities at a community college; Gerald Graff examines how the traditional organization of universities undermines student learning; and Cary Nelson considers the effects on the humanities of the increasing reliance on contingent faculty.



The Quality Imperative: Match Ambitious Goals for College Attainment with an Ambitious Vision for Learning
A Statement from the Board of Directors of the Association of American Colleges and Universities
AAC&U strongly supports emerging efforts to make college access and completion top priorities for the nation. However, the current focus on college-going dangerously neglects the core issue of educational quality.

Liberal Education and Institutional Identity: The University of Wisconsin–Madison Experience
By the University of Wisconsin–Madison Convergence Group
To effect institutional change, an informal, self-convened group of administrators and faculty leveraged convergences such as that between the University of Wisconsin System’s ongoing efforts to promote liberal education and AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise initiative.

The Human Journey: Embracing the Essential Learning Outcomes
By Michelle Loris
Sacred Heart University, a comprehensive university whose mission is rooted in both the liberal arts and the Catholic intellectual traditions, has developed a core curriculum to meet
the challenge set by AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise initiative.

Infusing Civic Engagement across the Curriculum
By Cassia Freedland and Devorah Lieberman
The Civic Innovations program at Wagner College adds strategic depth to the integration of curricular offerings, experiential learning, and community engagement.


The Public Liberal Arts Sector and America’s Promise
By Bill Spellman
Just as we have come to dispute the notion that liberal education is only achieved through studies in the arts and sciences, it is time to enlarge our understanding of the liberal arts college to include the public sector.