Presentation on theme: "Reflections Reflections &Transitions Liberal Arts Lunch, September 12, 2013 Marilyn R. Schuster Provost & Dean of the Faculty."— Presentation transcript:
Reflections Reflections &Transitions Liberal Arts Lunch, September 12, 2013 Marilyn R. Schuster Provost & Dean of the Faculty
Three Paradoxes: Liberal Arts colleges are under siege at home even as they are emulated elsewhere in the world. Liberal arts colleges are all alike and each is unique. To maintain our core values we must embrace change.
Paradox #1: Liberal Arts colleges are under siege at home even as they are emulated elsewhere in the world. Worries and unintended consequences...
There has been rising public concern about the cost of college, the debt burden students can incur, and whether colleges actually provide the skills students need to thrive. These concerns have caused some to question the liberal arts tradition itself, on the grounds that its elements do not all contribute visibly and directly to near-term employment. But this concern misses the ways in which the liberal arts train people to adapt and change over a lifetime. We are not arguing for a return to the “general education” model of some idealized past. Arguing over what things students should know and what mental skills they need to develop are worthy projects for great educators... The key is defining a vision of education that meets students’ needs as broadly capable people equipped for the lives that await them, not one that simply mirrors the map of current faculty Specializations. The Heart of the Matter, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2013
Cost of a Smith education: $67,900/year Comprehensive fee for 2013-14: $57,524 Accumulated loan burden in financial aid packages at end of four years : $19,000
The Arts and Humanities teach us how to describe, evaluate, and change the world. The terms of art and philosophy are irreplaceable for our articulate description of the world, without which we fall painfully mute. The capacity precisely to describe experience of the world also provokes evaluation of the world, through the act of deliberative criticism. Our rigorous, receptive responsiveness to art and philosophy provokes an answering responsibility to the world. As we answer, we also seek to harness art’s capacity to help us imagine transformation of the world. Every work of art is an act of recreative making. Art thereby models the liberating way in which the world itself might be remade. The Teaching of the Arts & Humanities at Harvard College: Mapping the Future, 2013
Paradox #2: L iberal arts colleges are all alike and each is unique. Values, challenges and caveats
Challenges – Call for applied knowledge and connection to the world of work Growth and support of STEM fields Online learning
Paradox #3: To maintain our core values we must embrace change.
Call for applied knowledge and connection to the world of work Concentrations Growth and support of STEM fields Facilities, support for faculty, student-faculty research AEMES: Achieving Excellence in Mathematics, Engineering and Science Online learning Digital Humanities, Blended Learning, Instructional Technologists: Yasmin Chin Eisenhauer, Deborah Polin
In the recording industry when people started listening to MP 3 s a new pattern emerged “a new story rearranging people’s sense of the possible, with the incumbents the last to know... First, the people running the old system don’t notice the change. When they do, they assume it’s minor. Then that it’s a niche. Then a fad. And by the time they understand that the world has actually changed, they’ve squandered most of the time that they had to adapt.” Clay Shirky, quoted in Higher Education in the Digital Age
Paradoxes Liberal Arts colleges are under siege at home even as they are emulated elsewhere in the world. Liberal arts colleges are all alike and each is unique. To maintain our core values we must embrace change. Worries Rising cost of college National decline in humanities and arts Uncertainty about future of online learning but certainty that it will change higher education The cultural “default” of new technologies reinstates old pedagogies and ideologies Our structures are not agile enough to respond to changes in knowledge and pedagogy And more...
“central aspects of life on our campuses that must be retained [and] even strengthened,” such as the great value of “minds rubbing against minds” – not only the power of the presence of great teachers but also “the learning that goes on continually on our campuses, as often outside the classroom as in.”