ERIC Number: ED203812
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The American Undergraduate Arts College: A Study of the Major Themes Informing Its Development and a Prognosis for Its Future. ASHE Annual Meeting 1981 Paper.
Pfnister, Allan O.
The history of the liberal arts college from its origins in the medieval universities of Western Europe and England is traced, and the present changes in the liberal arts colleges in the United States are considered. In France and Germany, instruction in the liberal arts became the responsibility of classical secondary schools as the universities concentrated exclusively on advanced studies. In England, however, where strong advanced faculties in theology, law, and medicine were not as fully developed, the emphasis was on the general cultural work of the arts faculty, and the residential college seems to have reached the peak of influence when the first North American colonial colleges were being established. The colonial colleges took the English pattern for a model. As late as the last quarter of the eighteenth century, two-thirds of the students enrolled in higher education in the United States were in liberal arts programs and most of them were in free-standing liberal arts colleges. Most U.S. universities developed an amalgam between undergraduate liberal arts education and advanced professional study. It is suggested that the free-standing liberal arts college might have found renewed strength if either instruction in arts had been separated from the work of the university, or the arts curriculum had been maintained intact while adding a separate graduate unit to the university. In the 1970s, the free-standing liberal arts colleges seem to be facing a particularly critical point in their history. Some of the colleges have responded to pressures to justify their existence by opting for changed missions and expanded roles. Studies underway at the University of Denver have identified five categories of liberal arts colleges. (SW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: ASHE Annual Meeting; Europe; United States
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (Washington, DC, March 3-4, 1981).