Liberal Arts Responds to Global Challenges
Apr 28, 2012
These were the sentiments shared during a seminar held in honor of Dr. William Craft's inauguration April 28. Speakers addressed the theme, "The Liberal Arts in a Global Age," by exploring how a liberal arts education changes and is changed by an ever-shrinking world.
A liberal arts education prepares its students for sympathetic imagination, said Dr. John Churchill, secretary of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest academic honor society. That means that students are prepared to ask questions and analyze answers to understand different viewpoints- or understand how those viewpoints were formed.
While that is a valuable quality in a diverse world, it doesn't suggest that liberal arts institutions shouldn't change and evolve.
"We will have to be bold and courageous and willing to ask questions that may make us uncomfortable," says Dr. Earl Lewis '78, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at Emory University.
Lewis encouraged colleges like Concordia to re-examine everything from pedagogy and structure to schedule. But he also cautioned against losing a sense of mission and self.
"We can't be everything to everyone," he said.
Faculty responses were provided by Dr. Linda Johnson, professor of history, and Dr. Susan O'Shaughnessy, professor of philosophy.John Ydstie '74, a correspondent for National Public Radio, moderated the session.
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