Liberal Education, Summer 2012

Current Issue


Shared Futures, Difficult Choices

Reclaiming a Democratic Vision for College Learning, Global Engagement, and Success

This issue presents highlights of the 2012 AAC&U annual meeting. Also included are articles on assessment reform as a means of facilitating innovation in science education, the current state and future prospects of the liberal arts college, and the importance of foreign language study.

Table of Contents
President's Message
From 1818 R Street NW

By David Tritelli

Featured Topic

By Don M. Randel
How does one cope with being in a business that has a responsibility to serve society for the long term when much of society declines to think about the long term and when one’s customers do not yet entirely know what is good for them?

By Adrianna Kezar, Matthew Hartley, and Daniel Maxey
Extolling the virtues of democratic practice, on the one hand, while practicing exclusion from the decision-making process, on the other, will not produce civic agency in our students.

By Martha J. Kanter
The overall goal of our work is to provide all students with deliberate, rich, structured opportunities to explore the benefits and obligations of civic life by tackling challenges and designing solutions in their own schools, campuses, and communities.

By Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
The image of the shining city on a hill captures our imagination because it reflects the abiding truth that we become fully human in society, not outside of it. We need one another to become happy, healthy, and whole.

The pkal perspective

By David I. Hanauer and Cynthia Bauerle
The transformation of undergraduate science instruction includes the adoption of not only effective instructional practices but also assessment practices that are aligned with student learning goals. 


By Daniel Gordon
Every argument for liberal education should be an illustration of liberal thinking. Focusing on how liberal education is a pathway to success, we can also examine the very meaning of “success” and of the “liberal arts” themselves.

By Vicki L. Baker, Roger G. Baldwin, and Sumedha Makker
In 1990, David Breneman asked whether we were losing our liberal arts colleges. Today, more than twenty years later, it is time to ask that question again.

By Benjamin Rifkin
Given the close relationship between the Standards for Foreign Language Learning and the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes, it is surprising that many world language programs represent endangered species in both K-12 and postsecondary education.

my view

By Robert J. Sternberg
What is “ethical drift,” and how can one discourage it in colleagues, students, and even oneself?

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