7.23.13 … Reports of Death of Liberal Arts Greatly Exaggerated …

Reports of Death of Liberal Arts Greatly Exaggerated: Part of what is great about liberal arts is that we understand literary references, even if we weren’t English lit majors. Thanks, John Syme at Daybook Davidson!

As I am working on a story about the value of a liberal arts education in today’s employment culture (dba “the job market), the contribution of Rachel Knox ’93 to this Wall Street Journal exchange of ideas about the state of the liberal arts and humanities caught my eye. Thanks, Rachel, I needed that!

So now I’m all curious about what experiences and perspectives other alumni of all ages and majors might share about the value of their Davidson education in the workplace.

What was your major? How does it relate directly to your career, or not? Indirectly? More broadly, how has your overall liberal arts perspective come to bear in your work life since graduation? In other words, discuss the history of the wide world in the context of your own large life. Be brief, concise and specific. Give three examples. Begin.

Seriously. I want to know.

Extra credit: Why do we call it the “liberal arts”?

via Reports of Death of Liberal Arts Greatly Exaggerated.


And her is Rachel’s entry:

Rachel Knox

Easton, Penn.

Mr. Siegel has presented deeply thoughtful and elegant ideas against teaching the humanities at the university level. It is rare that one reads such a cogent argument that the understanding of literature is an intuitive, independent and deeply individual internal process. I also agree that testing in this area is counterproductive and deserves the ridicule that Mr. Siegel heaps on it, along with other teaching methods currently in use.

But rather than throw out the entire discipline, it would be best to change the ways of instruction and rectify the teaching of literature and the humanities. I disagree with the idea that high school is enough preparation for students to discover a lifelong independent love of fiction and the arts leading to self-study or reading for enjoyment’s sake. If we improve the courses at the college level, perhaps by making them pass/fail and having attendance and discussion be the chief requirement, we would open the eyes of many students who might not consider books a necessity for an intellectual life independent of that of the workplace.

via Please Dry the Starting Tear for the Liberal Arts Muses — Letters to the Editor – WSJ.com.

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