Monday, May 9, 2011


Liberal studies are not vocational studies, except as they may help students discover their “callings” in the world, their ways to fulfill their deeply-felt purposes and to serve others.

Liberal studies aim to liberate students from ignorance of what human endeavor has discovered to be important in such areas as the humanities, the arts, the sciences and the social sciences—divided into the various academic fields and departments.  The world of inquiry and learning is large, and it behooves students of the liberal arts and sciences to comprehend the scope of it, if only superficially.

While pursuing the ideal of “knowing something about everything and everything about something,” students of liberal studies select areas of special interest in accord with their intellectual talents, in which to major or minor, studying those subjects more comprehensively and in greater depth.

Such a liberal education, begun in college and ideally continued autodidactically throughout life, does not explicitly train students for employment in particular careers and professions; rather, it trains minds to think widely and well, and to esteem the enterprise of critical inquiry and scholarship in our continuing search for truth and value.

The traditional four-year period of college is little time in which to launch the life-long endeavor of a liberal education, and it should not be curtailed by the inclusion of narrowly pre-professional or job-specific training programs better performed by industries and business enterprises themselves, post graduation.

Liberal studies, then, should remain pre-professional and not become co-professional.