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February 1, 2020

The Advantage of a Liberal Arts Education

“A liberal arts education means a lot of things to a lot of people. But at its foundation is the concept of gaining appropriate, general knowledge in a free society that allows free citizens to navigate within it effectively.”

Paraphrased from Nathan Glazer


  • In today’s globally, sophisticated society, it is paramount for individuals to develop intellectual capacity, critical-thinking skills and moral character in order to evaluate information intelligently over a lifetime and sometimes under duress.
  • The appreciation of the arts, science, literature and the thoughts of the great thinkers in history cannot be underscored.
  • The Benefits
    • Obstacles, failures, disappointments are all part of life. However, in a world abundant with fake news, propaganda and biased reporting, it is often difficult to sort out truth from fiction. In order to make the best decisions, one must have as much accurate information as possible, as well as a logical approach to manage it. Therefore, creative problem-solving in a calculated risk-taking manner is essential to navigating life’s turbulence and misfortune.
    • Liberal Arts education teaches one to express their feelings and ideas in a logical, coherent and engaging manner.
    • Liberal artists learn to optimize the use of data for solving problems, and setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Ambitious & Audacious, Relevant and Time-limited) goals; approaching them ethically, collaboratively, professionally, and efficiently.
  • The Purpose
    • With a liberal arts education, students learn to think clearly, approach problems rationally; write, speak and present information and conclusions intelligently and coherently.
    • They become specialists among a multi-disciplinary, collaborative framework, creating synergy and solving the world’s pressing problems.
  • An Observation
    • “Students educated in the Liberal arts, compared to trade schools or engineering schools, tend to be more open-minded, more curious, more adventurous, more rational, more independent, more self-confident, less prejudiced, less dogmatic.”

Howard Bowen

  • The Basics of a Liberal Arts Education?
    • You Learn to Read Literature critically
    • You Use and Understand Scientific Methods
    • You Use and Understand Formal Reasoning
    • You Understand and Analyze Data Making it useful
    • You Analyze and Appreciate Art Critically
    • You Perform or Produce Creative Art
    • You Study and Understand Human Behavior
    • You Study Cultures with a Historical Context
    • You Compare and Contrast Contemporary Cultures
    • You learn to Write Effectively in order to Think Critically and Convey your Thoughts Coherently to others
  • Advantages
    • With large endowments, small classes, exceptional students, faculty, staff and facilities, not to mention a strong ethos of community and purpose, individuals at liberal arts programs learn to appreciate the wonders of life, and contribute toward making the world a better place by solving society’s problems; as well as making the world more beautiful.
  • Where can you find a liberal arts education?
      • The Ivy League
      • Top Tier Private Universities (i.e. Stanford, Emory, Amherst, etc)
      • Leading Public Universities (such as University of California, UCLA, etc)
  • Example of a Liberal Arts Education
    • The University of Southern California
      • With the integration of liberal arts education and professional learning, facilitated with excellence in teaching, students learn valuable skill sets, gain wisdom & insight, love truth and beauty, treasure a moral compass, and value understand self-appreciation and respect of others. This leads toward lives of serving the public good.

Want to learn more about liberal arts education, please call Ivy Bound at 609.608.6258.

Michael J. Richardson, MD | February 1, 2020