Liberal Education, Spring 2007

Current Issue


Liberal Education and the "Big Questions"

This issue examines how the “big questions” of meaning and purpose are explored within the context of a contemporary liberal education. Also included are articles on civic engagement, integrative learning, and the distinctiveness of American higher education.

Table of Contents
From 1818 R Street NW

By David Tritelli

Featured Topic

By W. Robert Connor
Students are eager to explore the Big Questions of meaning and value. What they need from college is not answers, but vocabularies, metaphors, exempla, and modes of thought that can help them think the questions through for themselves.

By René V. Arcilla
The questions of liberal education are the student’s own questions; more precisely, they are those of the student who is struggling to be himself or herself. How, then, could a liberal educator aid such students?

By Norman Adler
The role of the university is not to resolve the conflict between faith and reason but, rather, to study it and to let it enrich the curriculum.

By Aleander W. Astin, Helen S. Astin, Rebecca Chopp, Andrew Delbanco, and Samuel Speers
The authors offer their views on how well colleges and universities are doing at helping today’s students engage the Big Questions of meaning and value.

By David Marshall
For the humanities to have a place in the university of the future, faculty, faculty committees, department chairs, deans, and learned societies need to worry about the places in which the humanities conduct and organize their research and teaching, and that means thinking about bureaucracy.


By William G. Durden
As educators are called upon to demonstrate the validity of a liberal education, and as they evaluate the effectiveness of their own institutions, they should look for guidance to those enlightened revolutionaries who established a distinctively American approach to liberal education.

By Mary Taylor Huber, Pat Hutchings, Richard Gale, Ross Miller, and Molly Breen
Through initiatives such as the national Integrative Learning Project, the higher education community is gaining significant experience in fostering integrative learning through changes in the curricula, pedagogy, assessment, and faculty development.


By Wayne Meisel
At the colleges and universities working with the Bonner Foundation to build and sustain civic engagement initiatives, students are committed to significant, ongoing involvement in community issues and to engaging other students to join with them in such endeavors.

My View

By Margaret Soltan
Many universities are unprepared for the Web’s amplification effect, the way its readers and writers can reach into a campus and internationalize personalities and events there. 

Previous Issues