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The future of the liberal arts

President Crutcher contributes essay to the new book, “Remaking College”

President Ronald A. Crutcher has contributed an essay to a new book exploring the future of the liberal arts. His chapter focuses on the value of an educational environment that models diversity and tolerance, and steps colleges can take to reinforce those values.

The book, Remaking College: Innovation in the Liberal Arts (Johns Hopkins University Press), is a new collection of essays from leaders in American higher education.

An advocate for the residential liberal arts college experience, President Crutcher’s chapter, titled “The Intercultural Connection: Students and the Liberal Arts,” focuses on how these colleges help students prepare for an increasingly interconnected world. Classes, athletics, extracurricular and residential experiences that encourage consideration of diversity and tolerance help students graduate as ethical contributors to expanding intercultural workplaces, as well as grow into conscientious global citizens. He argues that liberal arts colleges are an ideal environment for such learning, but that schools need to do more to encourage those experiences.

As Crutcher writes in the chapter, “The goal would be to demonstrate—and show evidence—that small residential colleges are in a better position to help students to develop a repertoire of strategies for living in an intercultural global world: inculcating honesty, integrity, and ethical behavior; learning respect for other cultures and ideas; espousing civic learning and engagement.”

The President has been a long-time champion for liberal arts education. He co-chairs Liberal Arts Education and America’s Promise (LEAP), a national campaign that seeks to increase public awareness of the value of liberal education.

Remaking College, and Crutcher’s chapter, emerged from presentations and discussions at The Future of the Liberal Arts College in America and its Leadership Role in Education around the World conference at Lafayette College in April 2012, at which Crutcher spoke.

From transformative technology to the revolution in interdisciplinary study, Remaking College shows why liberal arts education is at the forefront of so many emerging trends in higher education even as it best prepares students for life after graduation, whatever path they follow.