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    • #1635
      Second Spring
      Keymaster

      Some of you may have heard of our partner, the Benedictus Liberal Arts Trust, who have been trying to found England’s first (genuine) liberal arts college in London for a number of years. They have been holding wonderful public lectures and academic forums for a number of years now, as well as an annual summer school as a foretaste of the full college programme they’ve designed.

      Their Director and one of their lecturers have written a beautiful piece for us on the Logos and the Liberal Arts. I’m starting a thread to discuss the article here, but I’d also like to open up the topic of higher education in the UK more widely.

      Liberal arts colleges are a dime-a-dozen in the USA, yet here in England we struggle to get even one off the ground. Why is that? What are the road-blocks?
      What would a liberal arts college have to offer here that other courses don’t, or that is needed in today’s cultural and intellectual climate?
      Perhaps some of you have other questions in the same vein.

    • #1642
      TomGourlay
      Participant

      Australia has only one liberal arts college, Campion College.
      As far as I have experienced it, it is a great college. It is small (which is a good thing!), but from what I understand, struggles to attract students and funding (although they have just built two new accommodation houses, so they can’t be doing too badly!)
      I fear that cultural pragmatism is deeply embedded in our Australian culture such that education for its own sake is not sufficiently valued. Universities have become accreditation bodies and training institutions – The contemporary university has become what Reinhard Hutter call a ‘Baconian Polytechnic’.
      This might be similar to your experience in the UK.

      • #1646
        Second Spring
        Keymaster

        That’s a good point Tom.
        We’re very used to specialisation in Higher Education in the UK. We usually have to pick our undergraduate degree (our “major”) before we even apply – for some people that’s at the age of 17. That cultural expectation may well be a factor, and it is very much to do with the pragmatism (or utilitarianism?) of the way education is viewed. Even if people find the idea of a Liberal Arts degree appealing, they’ll see it as frivolous if the point of education is seen to be primarily equipping us for the work force – even humanities degrees have to fight to justify themselves in terms of “transferable skills” or some definitive career options.

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