Defend the Liberal Arts
Defend the Liberal Arts
The liberal arts and sciences are being devalued and support for them is in jeopardy. In a time when people are concerned about practicality and change is both rapid and global, the teaching of the liberal arts becomes more relevant, not less. Making an education with a foundation in the liberal arts widely accessible will help ensure that we have a future citizenry and workforce that is analytical, innovative, curious, civically engaged, and humane.
This is where you come in. Stand up and make your voice heard.
What can I do?
Submit editorials to
local news organizations
Talk to friends, colleagues,
and prospective students
Make the value of liberal arts a topic of conversation at any gathering. Be sure to invite your friends to connect with us on social media to continue the conversation.
Support the College
with a monetary gift
Your gifts help enable the College to thrive in this challenging time and to become an even stronger hub of the Louisville community’s intellectual life.
Why do the liberal arts matter?
An education in the liberal arts and sciences is a life-long endeavor with the goal of developing the whole person in the context of the larger global society. The skills and knowledge gained through coursework and research in the arts and sciences bring about the capability to effectively communicate and persuade, the ability to think critically and agilely while solving complex problems, an understanding of the past as a key to understanding the present and improving the future, the capacity to function effectively across languages and cultures, and a deep and abiding appreciation of art and the world of ideas.
But an education in the arts and sciences provides more than just a broad set of skills – it can also impact your life journey and the world at-large.
American Association of University Professors
Political and business leaders tend to value activities that bring easily monetized, short-term rewards. As a broader society though, and in our individual lives and communities, we recognize that making a quick buck is not the highest value. Genuine, long-term, shareable value comes from engaging with and understanding a broad array of areas of endeavor as practiced in a variety of times and places. The yield of these areas of study – history, art, literature, and philosophy, among others – cannot immediately be quantified or charted. These areas of learning help us see ourselves and others in better light, and produce individual and collective achievements of lasting value.
"Political and business leaders will not promote, value, or fund these things unless we demand that they do so. But if a society does not value the broad liberal arts and sciences, it is doomed to irrelevance and decay. For what shall it profit a society to make the trains run on time, if there's nowhere worth going?"
—Prof. Avery Kolers
Avery Kolers is a Professor of Philosophy and former President of the UofL chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). The AAUP is open to all who are invested in teaching and research in higher education.
Employers show a vested interest in liberal arts and sciences graduates, and the reason can be found in the philosophy of a liberal arts education – the development of the whole person. Liberal arts majors are flexible, adaptable and able to learn new skills quickly. The education acquired through the liberal arts and sciences is transferable to a wide variety of careers and occupations.
The ancient Greeks, creators of the first democracy, put forth the idea that the liberal arts (artes liberales) are those areas of study “worthy of a free person.” As a member of a free and democratic society, building a foundation in the arts and sciences is an individual’s means to become an informed, active and engaged citizen. Collectively, a healthy democracy depends on these very attributes.
What the ‘Liberal’ In ‘Liberal Arts’ Actually Means
Starving for Wisdom
New York Times
Richard Cohen: The Actual Value of A College Education
Phi Beta Kappa Society
National Arts & Sciences Initiative
The arts and sciences are learning for all of life. They create opportunity, drive innovation, and invest in America. You can make the case:
Six Reasons the Arts & Sciences are Key