Posted by: Jeff | October 6, 2010

What “Liberal Arts” Really Means

My alma mater is revising its General Education curriculum to incorporate a requirement focused on power and justice in human society.  It seems a bit confusing as a requirement (perhaps less so once a course list is revealed), but the overriding principle seems to fit into the shape and scope of a liberal arts education.  This quote by Sociology/Anthropology Professor Veerandra Lele (ed. note – a former professor of mine) is especially illustrative of the values of a liberal arts education and the empowering nature of knowledge and critical analysis:

Associate Professor of Sociology/Anthropology Veerandra Lele underscored how it aligns the GE program with Denison’s mission to be autonomous thinkers, discerning moral agents, and engaged citizens. But, he added, it does not compel them to be agents of social change, because that’s not Denison’s place. “This proposal, and really a Denison education, is neither prescriptive nor directive. It’s liberating. It doesn’t proscribe a set of rules. It requires that we provide opportunities and possibilities. That’s what a liberal education does.”

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