The History of Liberal Arts Education and Place

ADVANTAGES

Factor 1: Vocational arts versus the intellectual arts
An institutional ethos and tradition which places a greater value on developing a set of intellectual arts, than professional or vocational skills: The debate about the relative importance of the vocational and intellectual arts has been going on as long as the discussion about liberal arts education, so it is important to clarify our stance on this issue. First, we are not arguing that students should not have career goals nor view higher education as a means to a successful career. Furthermore, we are not arguing against the value or presence of pre professional programs, or that the intellectual arts have no practical value. Instead, we are focusing on the orientation and goals of the institution, not the student. We are hypothesizing that students are more likely to develop the intellectual arts when the faculty and the administration place a greater value on developing their students’ quality of mind than providing training for specific careers or professions, including training students for graduate programs in liberal arts disciplines. In essence, we are arguing that the ends that institutions seek matter for their students’ intellectual development.

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