ERIC Number: ED484232
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Report of a Symposium on the Liberal Arts and Business
Flynn, Thomas F., Ed.
Council of Independent Colleges
This report highlights key issues discussed during the Symposium and includes a series of reflections on the connections between liberal arts and business. American colleges and universities have long argued that a liberal arts education provides the best preparation for life. Colleges often assert that the disciplines of the liberal arts provide a cultural orientation to this world and that they equip students with transferable ideas, analytical and communication skills, and global perspectives, as well as the ability to synthesize knowledge and make informed value judgments. The argument is that, no matter what their chosen career, this grounding will serve students well and, in the aggregate, benefit society. Business leaders have been equally vocal about the importance of a liberal arts education as preparation for career advancement and for the exercise of leadership in the corporate community. They cite the need for high-level managerial employees who readily learn on the job many of their specific responsibilities, after having been more broadly prepared by their liberal arts background. However, contrasting perspectives and recent developments have clouded this idealized view of the relationship between business and the liberal arts. The CIC gathering was unusual in that it brought together equal numbers of college and university presidents and corporate leaders for an intensive, day-long symposium. The presidents represented a wide variety of small colleges; the business executives represented an array of industries, such as financial services, manufacturing, home furnishings, medical products, and technology. The discussion focused most extensively on identifying the specific benefits of a liberal arts education to professional leadership, especially in business, and on understanding the barriers preventing clearer articulation of these benefits to students, employers, and the wider public.
Descriptors: Liberal Arts, Higher Education, Education Work Relationship, Business, Leadership, General Education, Relevance (Education)
Council of Independent Colleges, One Dupont Circle, Suite 320 Washington, DC 20036-1142. Tel: 202-466-7230; Fax: 202-466 7238; Web site: http://www.cic.edu.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Sponsor: James S. Kemper Foundation
Authoring Institution: Council of Independent Colleges, Washington, DC.