The Right Place for the Liberal Arts

A liberal arts education is an education for life–in all its various aspects. In fact, because life is so multifaceted, it’s hard to imagine an educational model more effective than the liberal arts. It’s this fact that makes various myths about a liberal arts education–such as the notion that it’s impractical–so pernicious. S. Georgia Nugent, senior fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and former president of Kenyon College, writes a column on the value of the liberal arts education. An autumn post of hers debunks many of the pernicious myths, including elitism, prohibitive expense, debt, impracticality, and weaker employment prospects. In a more recent post about college graduates in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math), Nugent notes that America’s small, private, liberal arts colleges are more successful than large research universities graduating science majors and preparing students for doctorates in STEM fields. The results of a recent CIC report she cites suggests that liberal arts colleges provide more bang for the buck when it comes to producing STEM graduates. The Council of Independent Colleges represents more than 600 small private colleges around the country, including Kalamazoo College.