Liberal Education

From the Editor

In designing a liberal education in a country that has no indigenous tradition of liberal education to guide it, educators are creating a new thing from the riches of their own cultural values, wisdom, and educational experience and with consultation from foreign-for example, U.S.--colleagues. In this issue Susan Gillespie, in describing them, notes that these new liberal education programs emerging around the globe correlate with the particular country's desire for a democratic society.

In basic form, the relationship between liberal education and civic renewal is striking. Articles in the Featured Topic section outline the benefits of a citizenry educated in the knowledge and skills, the competencies and commitments of a liberal education. Growing out of their own traditions and culture, these new forms of liberal education overlap with but do not duplicate the liberal education of Western societies, according to the authors.

Clearly, anyone who observes or consults with those designing these new educational forms naturally reflects on U.S. education as it has evolved over the years. Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College mirrors the ideals, practices, and goals embodied in U.S. liberal education. In that spirit, under the heading Greater Expectations, Liberal Education has carried a series of articles demonstrating how the ideals are practiced. In this issue, the third in that series highlights three different kinds of institutions, related in that their innovative practices promote better learning for their students. Each institution, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Richland Community College, and King's College, is a microcosm of the vitality and innovation that marks undergraduate educational planning being enacted at institutions around the country. To borrow a phrase from Peg Downes, they represent "our own home-grown, American liberal education programs."

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