Arts & Humanities: Don't Leave College Without Them

...what’s the difference??

needs individuals who can empathize, reach out to others and reflect about themselves in ways that are knowledgable, respectful, and humble. This means that a humanist who understands basic computer programming language or en- gineering materials will be able to build more human-centered products. A psychologist with knowledge in a foreign language and an under- standing of cultural diversity will undoubtedly be more effective in a post-disaster country or work on systemic racism in our own country. An artist who understands climate change can make a more visual impact to affect change. Students who take courses in a variety of disci- plines and who can apply and think across disci- plines, are the kind of individuals who are able to tackle this century’s challenges. And for this, there is no better education than a Liberal Edu - cation. So if you are not already a student of the Arts or Humanities, I encourage you to take classes or workshops, attend events or get a second de- gree in fields such as Philosophy, Classics, Thea - tre, or Art History. These disciplines will expand your minds and enrich your lives and careers, no matter which profession you decide to pursue. They will make you stronger.


the thinking patterns of our minds. What does that mean? It means that you are able to identify and connect facts, knowledge, and ideas in ways that lead to new discoveries and solutions. In other words, objective, technological or scientific knowledge is just not enough in a world that is desperately seeking solutions for humankind. The Arts and Humanities teach us to see events and ourselves in context; they allow us to express ourselves and give meaning to our lives; they provide us with the tools to question the world in which we live and work, to look at our surround- ings with open eyes, and to connect to each other in meaningful ways. They allow us to ask impor- tant questions and, when joined with fields like Engineering, Geology, Environmental Science, Medicine, and so on, they open new zones of in- quiry that allow new topics, ideas, and opinions to emerge. The practical applications of the Arts and Human- ities are harder to recognize simply because they are not as apparent, but they are there and thats why forward-looking smart employers are hiring more individuals with strong backgrounds in hu- manistic or artistic fields. The complexity of today’s challenges demands individuals with deep knowledge in their own fields as well as the flexibility and awareness to think as much beyond disciplinary borders as they collaborate beyond national borders. The world

by Christine Henseler

one student-faculty interactions. They tend to be smaller and more focused on teaching. Arts and Humanities courses may be found in any of these institutions, and I would argue that the most in- novative and forward-thinking colleges and uni- versities today integrate courses in literature, philosophy, and other arts and humanities across various disciplines. If you've watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix, you'll know what I mean by the importance of studying Ethics, for instance, as part of Computer Science education. The hallmark of Liberal Arts institutions is that they provide you with the opportunity to explore, dive into fields you had never thought about be - fore, and to make connections between ideas you had never before considered. That’s where crea- tivity and innovation lies. It's also where cultural diversity is at its best. Our destinies as successful human beings tasked to navigate this global, pluralistic, mobile world, is one that depends on the connections we are able to make between many different moving and unmoving parts. Similarly, the destiny of the sci- ences and engineering are deeply connected to the arts and humanities, and vice-versa.

The "Arts" and "Humanities". The "Liberal Arts." "Liberal Education". These terms are so confus - ing! What in the world do they mean? And why does it matter? Well, let's start by clarifying one thing: none of these terms have anything to do with becom- ing more "liberal" in the political sense. They do, however, have everything to do with freeing your mind and developing your critical and crea- tive thinking abilities so that you can adapt to our complex realities in ways that connect ideas, peo- ples, and world views. You see a “Liberal Education” does not refer to specific subjects, but rather to the development and real-life application of knowledge and trans- ferable skills that span all disciplines, from math- ematics to science, art and history to sociology or political science (AACU). It is about learning how to think in a way that is as agile and multifaceted as the world in which we live. Liberal Arts colleges, like, say, Union College, Hamilton College or Vassar College, are institu- tional microcosms of this philosophy and often distinguish themselves from research universities like Cornell University or the University of Miami, because they place more emphasis on wholistic learning across disciplines and on closer one-on-

The competitive edge will go to those students who have built solid yet agile frameworks around


Arts & Humanities

Don’t Leave College Without Them


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