Dr. Gerald Gibson, former President of Maryville College, has written about the value of a liberal arts education in his book, "Good Start: A Guidebook for New Faculty in Liberal Arts Colleges," Anker Publishing Company (1992).
1. A liberal arts college graduate has broad knowledge.
Study of a broad, but purposefully selected core body of knowledge equips the graduate to:
- learn from history, science, and literature
- set personal experience in context
- make enlightened, informed decisions
- converse intelligently with a wide variety of people
- understand and frame arguments of diverse topics
- understand the functioning of political, social and economic institutions
- escape provincialism
2. A liberal arts college graduate thinks effectively.
Practice in logical, analytical, and creative thought disciplines the graduate for:
- identifying flawed arguments
- solving problems
- coming to sound conclusions
- recognizing and proposing options
3. A liberal arts college graduate can communicate effectively.
Discipline in thinking, coupled with practice in writing and speaking, prepares the graduate to:
- communicate information, ideas, analyses, and arguments clearly
- persuade others
- work collaboratively
- provide leadership
4. A liberal arts college graduate can make discriminating judgements.
Formal attention to enduring principles, and to systems of values and their application to specific situations readies the graduate to:
- make ethical judgments
- better appreciate art, music, theatre, and literature
- live a richer, fuller, more contributive life
5. A liberal arts college graduate can see connections.
Guidance in getting beyond disciplinary and political boundaries conditions the graduate to:
- integrate experience
- anticipate outcomes in complex situations
- acknowledge and value interdependency
- work productively with people from other cultures
6. A liberal arts college graduate is quantitatively conversant.
Introduction to and practice in using mathematical approaches equips the graduate to:
- employ quantitative methods in solving practical problems
- assess arguments that include quantitative and statistical information
- use quantitative and statistical information appropriately in decision-making
7. A liberal arts college graduate is committed to learning.
Inculcation in the techniques and pleasure of learning, including specialized learning in the major, enables the graduate to:
- pursue graduate and professional education
- remain open to new experiences, insights, and points of view
- ferret out new information
- enjoy learning over a lifetime
Dr. Margaret Cowan, Ralph W. Beeson Chair in Religion/Associate Professor of Religion and Coordinator of General Education at Maryville College, has presented information about what employers seek during the hiring process (Fortune, January 27, 1992).
- An ability to communicate effectively – orally and in writing.
- A thorough grounding in literature and the social sciences, especially history and geography.
- Mastery of one foreign language and culture.
- An appreciation of the fine arts.
- Genuine understanding of how the U.S. government and economy functions.
- Concern for physical health.
- An understanding of the principles of higher mathematics, including the ability to apply those principles to daily life.
- The knowledge of physical sciences and how these disciplines related to the environment.
- Enough familiarity with computers and other technology to retrieve and use information easily.
- Above all else, the ability to identify problems and work creatively toward solutions.