Making the Case for a Liberal Arts Education

There has been quite a bit of discussion about this topic lately, given the cuts to post-secondary institutions in Alberta and the promotion of specialized education in the “professions” (medicine, law, business, engineering) that has seemed to take precedence in the rhetoric of governments in the name of being “competitive” in the global marketplace, as well as ensuring that our young people have what is believed to be the right “skill set” for today’s workplace. While a “professional degree” is undoubtedly a valid and rewarding choice, it may not be for everyone. Mercifully, there are some clear arguments for a well-rounded, liberal arts education that are becoming more prominent, and I’ve recently come across two of the more thorough and articulate.

The first is a Ted talk from 2009 by Liz Coleman, then the President of Bennington College, a small liberal arts college in the U.S. I highly recommend this. It spells out the need for study in the liberal arts so clearly it’s impossible not to recognize their importance.

The second is a report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, making the same argument in a different way, in more detail, but just as convincingly.

I wish there were Canadian sources making similar arguments, but so far I haven’t found any. If anyone out there knows of any, I’d love to read them and blog about them.

 

And now…a post…about…knitting!

My very own Beer Mitt

My very own Beer Mitt

Please read the title of this post with the appropriate Monty Python-esque emphasis. And having done that, we move on to the rest of the post…

I love KnittyBlog! For those knitters out there who haven’t already explored Knitty’s magazine or the blog, I really, truly recommend you go there, if for no other reason than World Wide Wednesdays, when the post is a compendium of knitting stories from around the world.

You’ll find running stories like this

…And strange and wonderful tales like this.

And of course, Knitty’s mag is the home of the amazing Beer Mitt, which I blogged about here.

You don’t have to be a knitter to enjoy this stuff, either. Who knows, you might be inspired to become a knitter, and that would be amazing!

Art Meets Business

Here’s an example of someone who’s in the business world, but who also really understands the role the arts play in our society. Todd Hirsch revisits the economic arguments for the arts and makes them immediate and relevant, while also tying their value to the other, non-economic-yet-extremely-important aspects of our lives.

See his blog post on the subject.

A side note here is that the statistics Mr. Hirsch refers to in his post are likely to be only the tip of the proverbial artistic iceberg in Alberta, as they only reference organizations funded by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts – the firmest province-wide statistics available at the moment. There are many arts organizations who aren’t funded by the AFA, as well as individual artists (funded and not funded by AFA programs) who contribute economically as well.

We need more people like Todd Hirsch to lend their voices to his.