Liberal arts education benefits—do they still exist?
Liberal arts is a phrase that often gets tossed around when conversations turn toward education. Many are wondering if it’s even applicable anymore given the ever evolving job market and economy.
Here at Concordia, we believe the constantly changing environment is one of the very reasons that a liberal arts education is more prevalent than ever. As Dr. Steve Montreal, dean of the school of arts and sciences, says, “Graduates with liberal arts degrees are prepared to make significant contributions in all areas of their lives – communities, workplaces, and churches – meeting the challenges and the promises of the twenty-first century. Some of the key skills a liberal arts education helps students develop include critical thinking and problem solving, analytical fluency, and excellent communication skills. All of these will prove vital as students enter a competitive global job market and advance in their careers and vocations.”
Liberal arts education benefits are vast; students get exposure to a wide variety of disciplines with opportunities to exercise and grow many different life skills. This all culminates to make them more qualified and prepared to interact with co-workers, clients, and society in both their field of study and beyond. An education rooted in liberal arts focuses on full person development rather than just increased knowledge in a subject matter.
Related: Five CUW professors share why they love teaching liberal arts.
Are you considering continuing your education? Here are a few more liberal arts education benefits to consider.
Liberal Arts Education Benefits
1. A Critical and Creative Mindset
In an increasingly competitive job market, simply graduating with a degree no longer makes one applicant stand out from the next. However, a degree that’s tied to a liberal arts education does because it goes a step further to instill a critical thinking and creative problem solving mindset in students. This mindset, along with the added benefit of data literacy and excellent communication skills gained from immersion in the arts and sciences, sets students up to interact both critically and creatively with challenges and opportunities in the workplace. That combination of creativity and critical thinking is an aspect that employers are looking for in applicants throughout every single industry.
2. A Well-Rounded Worldview
Along with a critical and creative mindset, a liberal arts education also help students develop a well-rounded worldview. According to Dr. Montreal, “The liberal arts has a vital role acquainting students with our past and informing them about our present, providing a framework to envision possible futures. The disciplines that comprise the liberal arts ask and help students answer questions about who we are and what we are capable of, while imparting skills and attitudes that will propel them in their careers and their vocations, leading to lives of service.”
Not only does this type of worldview equip students to interact thoughtfully with society and culture, it also sets them apart in their careers as they interact with daily challenges and examine new opportunities through a heightened, well-rounded awareness of what’s worked in the past and what’s possible in the future.
3. Career Flexibility
Beyond a healthy mindset and worldview, another clear benefit of a liberal arts education is career flexibility. The economy shifts every year, and with those shifts come implications for both industries and career paths. This change is inevitable, but graduates with a liberal arts background are prepared to be flexible and interact with change, even industry and economic change, rather than standing by and simply hoping for the best.
“Given the reality that today’s graduates will likely have multiple careers, the arts and sciences helps ensure our students are well-equipped to thrive in a rapidly changing economy, while also contributing to the success of their communities,” Dr. Montreal said. “Liberal arts students are adept at dealing with change, and in effect can help drive change instead of being a victim of change. A liberal arts education teaches students how to learn; those skills and methods can be used to solve new and challenging problems.”
A Liberal Arts Education Outcome
Here at Concordia, we’re passionate about liberal arts education because we believe in full person development. We don’t just want to prepare our students for the careers of their dreams, we also want to set them up to do good, to love their neighbor well, and to be able to relate and participate fully with mind, body, and spirit in both the work they do and the life they live.
That’s why our core curriculum is so important to us—it comprises a combination of applicable subjects and topics necessary to instill a creative and critical mindset and a well-developed worldview while preparing students to interact with a dynamic and unpredictable economy.
“Recognizing the needs and expectations of today’s communities and marketplace, the [Concordia] core curriculum is designed to help students develop as responsible citizens, faithful neighbors, and talented employees,” Dr. Montreal said. “This is accomplished through an intentional emphasis on foundational texts in literature and philosophy, an engagement with history and art, an exploration of the possibilities and limitations of science, and a knowledge of the Christian faith.”
Even students who don’t get to interact with the core curriculum still reap liberal arts education benefits by learning from faculty members who embody the liberal arts. That’s why we approach education throughout our entire university with a heart bent toward liberal arts education—we want to ensure that every student who enrolls in a program, whether undergraduate, graduate, online, or accelerated, is prepared to interact in his or her field with sharpened senses, clear minds, and thoughtful worldviews.
To learn more about Concordia’s dedication to the liberal arts, check out our core curriculum.
This post was originally published on October 18, 2018. It has been updated to reflect current information.
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