Friday, June 6, 2008


Dear Colleagues,

Here’s a project I’d like you to help me accomplish. It will take you only as much time and effort as you care to give it.

I’d like to make a compendium of personal statements from Rollins Arts & Sciences faculty regarding their conceptions of “liberal education.”

I expect to receive varied, even conflicting views, if only because in my nearly forty years here, I have seen my own ideas change considerably.

The upshot that I envision of this research will be an essay or pamphlet I write addressed to the College community, but especially to our students, regarding “The Aims, Means and Values of a Liberal Education.” It may even turn into a small anthology of your statements.

My first step is simply to gather your thoughts and study them. What I then determine is best to do with the collection, I’ll propose to you later on, and I’ll make sure you agree with how I use your writing.

Address yourself, please, to this question: By your reckoning, what defines and constitutes a liberal education? Then explain how you see an A & S college curriculum contributing to that rationale. Say briefly how your own courses work to that purpose.

More simply: What are we fundamentally about, and how do you fit into the program?

Please frame your writing to these prompts:

1. Explain to your students what you understand a collegiate “liberal education” to mean.

2. Explain to your students how what you teach contributes in particular to their liberal education.