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The Liberating Arts: In Praise of Liberal Elites

Posted by on Dec 7, 2016 in Perspectives | 1 comment

In 1822, in his Inaugural Address on the occasion of the opening of the Southern and Western Theological Seminary—what would become Maryville College – the Reverend Isaac Anderson spoke of the urgent need of Christian ministers on the then frontier. But, he cautioned, ministers’ minds needed to be “enlarged by a knowledge of grammar in general, of logic, metaphysics, natural philosophy, mathematics, natural history, and polite literature,” because “these expand the mind, give direction to its energies, and furnish it with just rules by which every subject is to be examined that is submitted to its inspection.” Clearly, Anderson’s vision was not merely to train his graduates to do an adequate job. The curriculum Anderson crafted ranged over all the liberal arts as they were then conceived. Why? Anderson did this because he believed education had power to both...

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For the Still Deciding Student

Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 in News, Perspectives | 0 comments

    At a Meet Maryville event a couple years ago, just before the launch of Maryville College Works I spoke with prospective students and parents about studying the humanities. I was struck by one father’s question: He understood why we would insist on connecting the liberal arts with career success but, he said, it also worried him. He was thinking of his daughter, growing into a young adult, for whom he wants excellent career preparation but also much more.     His question was obvious: Could I assure him we offer more?     In line with so many other colleges like ours, we at MC have turned to outcomes assessment and, perhaps especially, employment outcomes as a measure of our educational effectiveness. We want to make the decision to come here easy, and so we have powerpoints and data points and talking points...

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