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ERIC Number: EJ861146
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
ISSN: ISSN-0024-1822
Liberal Education and Effective Practice: The Necessary Revolution in Undergraduate Education
Freeland, Richard M.
Liberal Education, v95 n1 p6-13 Win 2009
Something remarkable is happening in programs of liberal education all over the country. The longstanding notion that learning should occur almost exclusively in classrooms is being amended to give a much more prominent place to various forms of experiential education. The belief that liberal education should focus on a narrow range of intellectual qualities is being revised to include an emphasis on connecting ideas with action. These developments constitute a profoundly important, indeed revolutionary, challenge to the version of liberal education that has dominated American higher education since the early years of the twentieth century. The trend to connect liberal education with practice takes multiple forms at the campus level and reflects a range of interests among students, faculty, and administrators. The various developments that make up this trend do not yet constitute a coherent movement, nor are they united by shared purposes. They remain on the margins of mainstream thought about the proper characteristics of liberal education. Yet they should command the attention of thoughtful academics for one basic reason: they seek to enact the traditional mission of liberal education to nurture engaged, effective, constructive professionals and citizens, and they implicitly question whether learning experiences that cultivate analytic skills in classroom settings constitute the most effective way to achieve this purpose. The movement to link liberal education more closely to action and practice is not limited to programs that take students out of the classroom. The trend is also reflected in modifications of arts and sciences coursework. Most liberal arts colleges now offer opportunities to study applied and professional subjects, for example, and many universities encourage liberal arts majors to take minors in professional fields. The Carnegie Foundation has sponsored an effort to enrich the "thinking" orientation of liberal education with the "doing" emphasis of professional studies by incorporating practice-oriented pedagogies, such as simulations and case studies, in liberal arts courses. Many colleges offer interdisciplinary, problem-focused minors like urban studies or international relations through which students learn to think about complex, real-world problems. These programs often provide platforms for community-based research projects, internships and service opportunities, and Model UN-type simulations. (Contains 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A