The Liberal Arts: Creating A Citizen For A Community Near You

1563 words - 6 pages

The view of what college is and what the experience of college offers, differ dramatically between an individual and the society he or she lives. College has traditionally been viewed as the place young adults go to find themselves, find their career, and start their adult lives. Some have argued that education has veered too far away from tradition, while others argue that the whole idea of Liberal Education needs to keep evolving to meet the demands of the modern world. Those in favor of change argue for more diversity within the curriculum, such as more non-western world education and feminist thought. However, the traditional educational ideal has not completely vanished. At the majority of colleges in America the Liberal Arts, or General Education, is the core requirement that every student must take regardless of major. A liberal education studies the idea of what it means to be a good human being. The Liberal Arts are important to everyone because it tries to grasp each individual’s uniqueness and find their place in society. These classes aim to challenge students to become better people, better citizens, and overall create a better society. Liberal Arts try to grasp the knowledge and skills humans have used to rationally understand human existence for thousands of years. By creating culturally diverse campuses and studying topics like philosophy; students learn to question life, question society, and find answers to what it means to be a good person. All of these innovations together along with better informed and intelligent students help form societies focused on equality and the future of human civilization.
Traditionally, the Liberal Arts try to explain and question everything that humans have done. A Liberal Arts education is one that provides an explanation of human events and the skills necessary for a student to understand or explain humanity on their own. In the article, What Should It Mean to Have a Liberal Education in the 21st Century?, D.G. Mulcahy presents Paul Hirst’s view of the traditional liberal education. Hirst, qtd. in Mulcahy’s article, explains that traditionally there are seven subjects of knowledge that humanity has used to understand reality. These seven subjects are math, the physical sciences, human culture throughout history, morality, art, religion, and philosophy (Mulcahy 469). These subjects are part of the majority of colleges’ liberal education or general education curriculum. While this is the intent of the more traditional Liberal Arts education, the system has evolved to meet the needs of a modern society.
Today many argue that changing the Liberal Arts is essential to creating a better society. Mulcahy argues the Liberal Arts should look to empower students (pp. 478 Mulcahy). It should try to give students the confidence to lead, the skills to organize, knowledge to fix problems, or change their world. Some colleges have this as part of their goals within their liberal education programs. This...

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