The Value of the Liberal Arts
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The Need to Read

The Need to Read | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
Reading books remains one of the best ways to engage with the world, become a better person and understand life’s questions, big and small.
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:
We all ask each other a lot of questions. But we should all ask one question a lot more often: “What are you reading?”  It's a simple question but a powerful one, and it can save lives.
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Liberal-Arts Majors Have Plenty of Job Prospects, if They Have Some Specific Skills, Too

Liberal-Arts Majors Have Plenty of Job Prospects, if They Have Some Specific Skills, Too | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
An analysis by the company Burning Glass suggests modest ways that graduates can catch the eyes of employers.
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:
Liberal Arts +

The liberal arts provide the foundation that employers are looking of, but analysis of help-wanted postings shows that liberal arts graduates can "can improve their job prospects markedly by acquiring a small level of proficiency in one of eight specific skill sets." And it doesn't take much: "Students can acquire those additional skills through a modest amount of additional coursework in college, or by adding a minor, taking a summer course at a community college, watching video tutorials from a private online vendor like Pluralsight, or even working a stint in a part-time job like the Geek Squad of a Best Buy electronics store."

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The Novel as a Tool for Survival

The Novel as a Tool for Survival | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
It helps us grapple with the evolution of our consciousness.
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:
"Like music, drawing, or sculpture, literature makes life more manageable; but unlike the other arts, it speaks to us in the way we speak to one another; it’s the self-conscious repository of consciousness."
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Building a Bridge Between Engineering and the Humanities

Building a Bridge Between Engineering and the Humanities | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
Remarkable opportunities exist at the intersection of the two fields. It is time to seize them.
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

"At the heart of human-centered design is empathy, and empathy is what literature, above all, is good at teaching. When you read a great novel, you identify with a character, experience what she is experiencing, follow her thoughts and feelings moment by moment from within. You do this with people of a different culture, age, gender, social class, nationality, profession, and religion. You do it with several characters in the course of one long novel, and not just once, but countless times, until it becomes a habit. Empathy creates better people and better technical innovations for people to use."

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Powerball jackpot winner pays for Steppenwolf and Goodman plays

Powerball jackpot winner pays for Steppenwolf and Goodman plays | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
Powerball millionaire Roy Cockrum will pay for Steppenwolf's new Tracy Letts play, '2666' at Goodman Theatre.
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

Words of wisdom from a Powerball winner who has used his good fortune to support American theatre:  "I think society is in trouble when culture is ignored.  People can be duped by the first political wind that blows their way. They can be persuaded to vote against their own self-interest. Culture is what enriches us all. We are all in trouble when the arts are not supported, when there is no seed of change."

 
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Sometimes The 'Tough Teen' Is Quietly Writing Stories

Sometimes The 'Tough Teen' Is Quietly Writing Stories | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it

Young adult fiction writer Matt de la Peña didn't finish reading a novel until he was in college. In his Mexican-American family, men who read books were seen as "soft." But he discovered his passion in literature, which he now shares with his young readers and family.

Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

Matt de la Peña gives kudos to John Green's "nerd fighter" campaign.  But what about "tough" kids who perceive reading as "soft"?  In this moving first-person essay, de la Peña recalls his own path towards reading, writing, and sharing in the power of the written word.

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How Stories Deceive - The New Yorker

How Stories Deceive - The New Yorker | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
Maria Konnikova writes about how con artists take advantage of the power of narrative.
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

The power of story can be used for good and ill.

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The Crafts of Freedom | Chapter 16

The Crafts of Freedom | Chapter 16 | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

Martin Luther King, the liberal arts, and the true power of rhetoric.  King "emerged from the rhetorical tradition of the liberal arts, transforming the sources with which he engaged throughout his too-brief life...Today both “liberal” and “arts” have narrow connotations that don’t adequately convey the ambitions of the traditional liberal-arts program of study. The emancipatory liberal arts were crafts of freedom: mental skills suitable to a free citizen. They were distinguished from the manual skills needed by uneducated and enslaved people—hence the continued tensions between “liberal” and “vocational” ideals that have bedeviled formal education since its origin."

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Azar Nafisi on Why the Arts and Humanities Are Critical to the American Vision

Azar Nafisi on Why the Arts and Humanities Are Critical to the American Vision | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
The author of
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

"How can our children survive this world without imaginative knowledge? I mean, can you imagine anyone being a responsible citizen without knowing about the history and culture of this country, never mind the world?"

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How stories change hearts and brains – Elizabeth Svoboda – Aeon

How stories change hearts and brains – Elizabeth Svoboda – Aeon | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
Across time and culture, stories have been agents of personal transformation – in part because they change our brains
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

"For thousands of years, we’ve known intuitively that stories alter our thinking and, in turn, the way we engage with the world. But only recently has research begun to shed light on how this transformation takes place from inside. Using modern technology like functional MRI (fMRI) scanning, scientists are tackling age-old questions: What kind of effect do powerful narratives really have on our brains? And how might a story-inspired perspective translate into behavioural change?"

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To Help Students Succeed Professionally and Personally, Teach the Art of Being Human

To Help Students Succeed Professionally and Personally, Teach the Art of Being Human | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
Students know what they need to build satisfying lives, and it’s not just job skills.
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

"How can we expect our society to flourish without a citizenry that values learning as among the highest of virtues or expect our nation to excel without providing for everyone the resources necessary to cultivate intellectual curiosities in new and innovative ways? Most important, how will we ever establish our moral credibility if we do not encourage these pursuits with an eye to improving the human condition? The problem is that many people are able to maintain these beliefs while at the same time dismissing as "intellectual luxuries" such ideals as the "search for meaning" or "concern for the common good."

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We don’t need more STEM majors. We need more STEM majors with liberal arts training.

We don’t need more STEM majors. We need more STEM majors with liberal arts training. | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
The ability to draw from other disciplines produces better scientists.
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

A Chemistry professor speaks:  "By all means, let’s grow our STEM graduates as aggressively as possible. But let’s make sure they also have that all-important grounding in the liberal arts. We can have both."

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Why Air Force Cadets Need to Study Philosophy

Why Air Force Cadets Need to Study Philosophy | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
Greater emphasis on humanities means more well-rounded decision making
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

And this is what is at stake.

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Why America's Business Majors Are in Desperate Need of a Liberal-Arts Education

Why America's Business Majors Are in Desperate Need of a Liberal-Arts Education | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
Their degrees may help them secure entry-level jobs, but to advance in their careers, they’ll need much more than technical skills.
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:
"Students are clamoring for degrees that will help them secure jobs in a shifting economy, but to succeed in the long term, they’ll require an education that allows them to grow, adapt, and contribute as citizens—and to build successful careers. And it’s why many schools are shaking up their curricula to ensure that undergraduate business majors receive something they may not even know they need—a rigorous liberal-arts education."
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Why Law Students Need the Humanities

Why Law Students Need the Humanities | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
In revamping legal education, don’t sacrifice narrative, rhetoric, and the humanities.
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:
Peter Brooks argues for the pivotal role of the "interpretive humanities," particularly its attention to language, narrative, and rhetoric, to the study and practice of law.
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President Obama says novels taught him how to be a citizen

President Obama says novels taught him how to be a citizen | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
In a second live public interview with novelist Marilynne Robinson, the US premier says fiction helps us to find truth in a complex world
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

Obama on literature:  "hen I think about how I understand my role as citizen, setting aside being president, and the most important set of understandings that I bring to that position of citizen, the most important stuff I’ve learned I think I’ve learned from novels...It has to do with empathy.  It has to do with being comfortable with the notion that the world is complicated and full of greys, but there’s still truth there to be found, and that you have to strive for that and work for that. And the notion that it’s possible to connect with some[one] else even though they’re very different from you.”

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Why literature is a vital tool for teaching students about equality

Why literature is a vital tool for teaching students about equality | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it

Via Mary Daniels Brown
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

"Talking about characters makes a tricky subject accessible; we talk about the character and the situation first and then relate it to real life and our own experience."

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Are liberal arts more valuable than STEM learning? - The Edvocate

Are liberal arts more valuable than STEM learning? - The Edvocate | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
A liberal arts education that focuses on a broad range of topics, and is not vocationally-centric, is a bigger asset to today’s students than other trending tracks like STEM learning. That’s according to author Fareed Zakaria in his new book “In Defense of a Liberal Education.” Zakaria argues that the central focus of a liberal...
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

An interview with Fareed Zakaria about his book "In Defense of a Liberal Education."  Zakaria:  "What a liberal education at its best does...is to allow people to range widely, to read widely, to explore their passions. Let one interest lead to another and on and on. I think that kind of breadth and the ability to feed your curiosity and indulge is incredibly important. It’s what, now in the corporate world, one would call synergy, or out of the box thinking, or the intersection of disciplines. This has always been a central part of what a liberal education has meant."

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HOME

HOME | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
DearEnglishMajor.com is dedicated to showing English majors all that is
possible with an English degree.
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

Dear English Major is a great website for English majors and graduates.  Lots of tips for how to professionalize, identify internships, and network.

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Just What Are the Liberal Arts Anyway?

Just What Are the Liberal Arts Anyway? | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
As parents send their kids off to college this fall, and those same kids try to figure out what they want to study, and as those of us who teach in liberal arts institutions begin talking to those students about the purpose and meaning of the educations they are about to embark upon, we should all keep in mind what our ultimate aims are.
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

Great article on the origins of the liberal arts and why we need them more than ever.  "[M]any students - and their parents - will resist the very mission of liberal education...Given this truth, which we as faculty and academic advisors see all the time, it perhaps makes sense to try to describe what liberal education is."

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the crafts of freedom: liberal arts

the crafts of freedom: liberal arts | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

Prof. Scott Newstok's curated collection of news and ideas related to the liberal arts.

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Science Has Great News for People Who Read Actual Books

Science Has Great News for People Who Read Actual Books | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
It's time to power down your Kindle.
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

Reading is reading.  Or is it?  The science of why paper trumps screen.

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Do Humans Still Need to Study the Humanities?

Do Humans Still Need to Study the Humanities? | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
Four former college presidents take on the humanities.
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

"Search the word “humanities” online and up pops the phrase “humanities under attack.” The majority of undergraduates today are majoring in business, science and technology disciplines. Technology—and its promise of being able to fix all problems—is, it seems, king.


What does all this mean for higher education? Why have the humanities undergone a crisis of legitimacy? And why does this matter?


We asked four former university presidents—of Clemson University, University of Florida, University of Wisconsin and Virginia Tech—to give us their perspectives on these questions."

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My Vocation

My Vocation | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
A would-be seminarian uses literature to help his students navigate the mysteries of mind and heart.
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

Literature as sacred vocation:  "They may not realize that they are seekers, or what it is they seek. They may be trapped in cynicism and insecurity, as I once was. I come with an invitation to clarity of perception. I come with a summons to discover unknown depths in themselves. I come as a priest, bearing holy books."

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Reading Literature Makes Us Smarter and Nicer

Reading Literature Makes Us Smarter and Nicer | The Value of the Liberal Arts | Scoop.it
"Deep reading" is vigorous exercise from the brain and increases our real-life capacity for empathy
Mary-Catherine Harrison's insight:

"Recent research in cognitive science, psychology and neuroscience has demonstrated that deep reading — slow, immersive, rich in sensory detail and emotional and moral complexity — is a distinctive experience, different in kind from the mere decoding of words."

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