The surprising institutions that refuse to drop the liberal arts, by Jon Marcus

People without a liberal-arts background really have no place to go with their skill sets. They lack an overall knowledge, and an ability to relate to people and make educated decisions, and not jump to conclusions.

by Jon Marcus in The Hechinger Report

Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point are required to take humanities and social sciences courses. Photo: U.S. Military Academy
Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point are required to take humanities and social sciences courses. Photo: U.S. Military Academy

WEST POINT, N.Y. — Christian Nattiel rattles off the way his course of studies has prepared him for his prestigious role as a company commander in charge of 120 fellow cadets at the U.S. Military Academy.

Nattiel, of Dade City, Florida, isn’t focusing at West Point on military science, or strategy, or leadership. He’s majoring in philosophy.

Ramrod straight in his Army combat uniform on the historic campus, where future officers are required to take humanities and social-sciences courses such as history, composition, psychology, literature, and languages, he said that, in philosophy, “There’s no right answer, and that’s very useful in the Army, so you’re not so rigid.”

“People without a liberal-arts background really have no place to go with their skill sets,” said Frank Guido, a Culinary Institute student from Rochester, New York, sitting in the campus café and studying the Mayan Indians for a course he’s taking in history and culture. “They lack an overall knowledge, and an ability to relate to people and make educated decisions, and not jump to conclusions.”

As mainstream universities and colleges cut liberal-arts courses and programs in favor of more vocational disciplines, and the number of students majoring in the humanities continues to decline, unexpected types of institutions are expanding their requirements in the liberal arts with the conviction that these courses teach the kinds of skills employers say they want, and leaders need: critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and communication

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See Also

The Greco-Roman Liberal Arts: Education with Friendship and Heart, by Gary David Stratton

Why Liberal Arts Education is Best Preparation for Filmmakers, by XMen and The Giver Producer Ralph Winter

The Endangered Liberal Arts College, by Jason Jones

The Holy Spirit and the Liberal Arts, by Gary David Stratton

Who Killed the Liberal Arts? And Why We Should Care, by Joseph Epstein

The Future of the Liberal Arts College in America and Its Leadership Role in Education Around the World, by Eric Hoover