Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession is the result of a recent study conducted by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The authors call for a more integrative approach: “how to reconfigure business preparation overall in order to develop students’ abilities to integrate business knowledge and skills with a broad understanding of the world and our times so as to be able to participate in the larger social world, as business professionals but also as citizens and as persons.”
Report from the ten year academic initiative which began in 2005, “Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP): Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College.” Based on input from educators and employers, concludes liberal education is needed more now than ever. Includes sections such as: “Liberal Education and American Capability,” “Narrow Learning is Not Enough,” “Fulfilling the Promise of College in the Twenty-first Century,” and “Liberal Education and America’s Promise.”
Career and Organizational Strategy Consultant Sheila Curran writes in this 2006 paper that colleges and universities will increasingly view the careers office as a strategic partner in attracting students, leading to increased visibility and funding. However, she argues that it is worth evaluating whether we think the emphasis on pre-professionalism is a good idea, particularly in a predominantly liberal arts institution. This paper explores the role of a top college or university in preparing its graduates for the future, and issues that must be addressed by those responsible for the academic program and careers offices.
According to a study presented by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, more than half of 1,000 employers said finding qualified applicants is difficult, and just under half thought students should receive specific workplace training rather than a more broad-based education. On all hiring criteria included in the survey, such as adaptability and critical thinking, applicants performed below employers’ expectations.
In Volume 96 of Liberal Education, author Willliam M. Sullivan discusses The Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Bringing Theory to Practice project, conceived and led by Don Harward. This project articulates a vision of liberal education that can reclaim the practice of teaching and learning in the academy: “Bringing Theory to Practice specifies the general aim of enabling students to make sense of the world and take up a responsible place in it by singling out three interrelated purposes that need new emphasis. The first is the epistemic, the concern with knowledge; the second is eudemonic, students’ development as persons as well as minds; and the third, civic purpose, addresses the dimension of engagement with larger values and responsible participation in the life of our times.”
In 2006, Southwestern University held a three day summit to explore what undergraduate business education in liberal arts institutions could and should look like. This is the report from the summit.
Al Gini, Professor of Business Ethics in the School of Business Administration at Loyola University in Chicago, presented this keynote address at the University Continuing Education Association (UCEA) 93rd Annual Conference in 2008. He addresses the question of whether or not liberal education brings value to the workplace. He answers the question affirmatively.
In this Research in Higher Education article (2008), Seifert et al used data to find that “liberal arts experiences had a positive effect on four of six liberal arts outcomes, including intercultural effectiveness, inclination to inquire and lifelong learning, well-being, and leadership.
The U.S. Government periodical Occupational Outlook Quarterly (Winter 2007-2008) includes an article titled, “What Can I Do with My Liberal Arts Degree?” The authors states, “the skills employers say they want most in a candidate, such as communication and critical thinking, are precisely those for which liberal arts students are known.”
Paper presented at the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, Philadelphia, PA. Provides statistical analysis from longitudinal studies. Pascarella, Ernest T. Liberal Arts Colleges and Liberal Arts Education: New Evidence on Impacts. San Francisco: Wiley, 2005. ASHE Higher Education Report 31.3.
Launched in 2005, “Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) is a national initiative that champions the importance of a twenty-first-century liberal education—for individual students and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality.” Sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, this site offers numerous resources under its Publications link.
“This report identifies the essential aims, learning outcomes, and guiding principles for a 21st century college education. It is based on extensive input both from educators and employers and responds to the new global challenges today’s students face.”
Robert Shoenberg, senior fellow at the Association of American Colleges and Universities, states that the terms “liberal education” and “liberal arts” are not synonymous. He refutes the idea that liberal education only happens in liberal arts institutions.
A Congressionally-mandated panel of American Academy of Arts and Sciences issued a report argues that the humanities are capable of creating a more civil public discourse, a more adaptable and creative workforce, and a more secure nation. The humanities and social sciences are the heart of the matter, the keeper of the republic—a source of national memory and civic vigor, cultural understanding and communication, individual fulfillment and the ideals we hold in common. They are critical to a democratic society and they require support.