If you have read some of the previous posts, the theme has been the benefits of a college education. A college degree is the culmination of a transformational process. When it works best, this transformational process should create a new trajectory for the individual's future. And while I teach in the practical and applied marketing discipline, I believe the indispensable foundation to this transformational process is the liberal arts courses. Some universities now refer to these courses as the general education program.
As I will elaborate upon below, these courses influence multiple facets of individuals' development as they pursue becoming 'college educated.' First, the liberal arts education forms the historical foundation of what is known as a college education. Therefore, in that sense, these courses provide a common link to what is considered a college degree. Second, another benefit of these multidisciplinary courses is to introduce students to a breadth of knowledge. Additionally, it is common that for undecided students, one of these subjects might become their passion and major. Finally, beyond the benefit of providing a breadth of knowledge, the courses also form a foundation about lifelong learning both in the process sense and in developing a quest or thirst for new understandings. Each of the above outcomes provides a compelling argument for liberal arts education. But when the entirety of these outcomes is considered, they provide a compelling argument for these courses as an indispensable foundation.
To further expand on these positive outcomes, let's begin with the history of a college education. So far, in these articles' I have used the United States version or definition of College or University interchangeably. That may not be appropriate as we discuss higher education's origins, which has also been referred to in others cultures as tertiary education. Tertiary is a third-level education or beyond secondary education. In some parts of the world, this tertiary education is limited to University education. In contrast, others refer to both University and College. Therefore, we will try to review only the origins and history of third-level higher education, which of course, would assume the existence of secondary education.
The origins of tertiary education with a liberal arts component are traced to the European institutions that evolved out of cathedral or monastic schools between the 11th and 14th centuries. These institutions existed for the study of the Arts and the higher disciplines of Theology, Law, and Medicine. The Arts encompassed arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music theory, grammar, logic, and rhetoric. These seven disciplines became the foundation of modern Liberal Arts education.
There are, of course, different configurations depending upon the institution. But the core disciplines remain essentially the same. Recently added have been learning outcomes of intellectual and practical skills such as communication, analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Essentially though, the core remains the same as was taught for the last thousand years. The benefit of this continuity is that today's students are uniquely connected to those from hundreds of years ago. Each student studied these core disciplines and went through a transformation as they strived to earn their collegiate credentials. Thus, an expectation and experience endured over the centuries of what it means to be collegiately educated.
Some intellectual and practical skills develop as outcomes of learning in-depth the content knowledge of courses such as calculus or chemistry. This, of course, is the second benefit of the liberal arts component of college. However, learning the above skills also develops perseverance as students move through courses or disciplines that do not engage or interest them. Often their learning is how to develop intrinsic motivation based on persevering to achieve an ultimate goal. Rare is the collegiate student that has not privately or publically complained, "why do I have to learn this?" This query about a subject or two is usually followed with the youthful assurance, "I'll never use it in real life." Only later will they find the usefulness or perhaps realize that the process of learning as a skill unto itself was enhanced by 'slogging' through the course.
Of course, moving through the breadth of courses also helps the student explore and perhaps find their life ambition. At my institution, over fifty percent of the students in my discipline change their declared entry major at least once. This level of change is as it should be. Expecting an 18-year-old student to understand their life goals is unrealistic. They often have not even had the exposure during the secondary stage of their education to the breadth of opportunities. Similarly, these students have limited exposure to the experts in these various disciplines. These experts are the exemplars of that discipline that can appropriately convey the content and future of the discipline.
So, before students get to the expertise development provided by collegiate education and their major, they need to expand their horizons. We have a compelling argument about the transformational nature the general education provides. A process vetted by hundreds of years. This general or liberal arts education changes the student, hones intellectual skills, and potentially helps sort through majors and career opportunities. It is for these reasons that as part of the collegiate experience and the collegiate education that I deem the liberal arts component indispensable.
Many of you know that I am teaching B2B marketing #b2b #b2bmarketing using LinkedIn as the platform for the students to learn how to manage both a LeadGen and ABM campaign. Some may also know of my firm conviction that a university education is a transformative event. Combining these two important aspects of my life has led to this latest endeavor. I will be posting links to my blogs on the value ofHere are my essays.