Bioethics Blogs

Center for Ethics Education Hosts Conference on the Value of Liberal Arts Education

The panel addresses the value of liberal arts education.

The panel addresses the value of liberal arts education. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

What is the value of a liberal arts education, and what place does it have in America’s future? An interdisciplinary conference sponsored by the Fordham University Center for Ethics Education on April 28 addressed these issues, and featured presentations from several leading liberal arts scholars, including Acting Under Secretary of Education, Jamienne Studley.

Acting under secretary of the U.S. Department of Education Jamienne Studley

Acting Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education Jamienne Studley. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Center for Ethics Education Director Celia B. Fisher, Ph.D. provided the opening remarks noting that “we approach this evening’s discussion at a time when we as a society are at a critical economic and educational precipice.”

“In times of economic difficulty, it is customary to critically examine educational practices to determine how best to prepare the next generation for the task of engaging in a world that is constantly changing,” Fisher continued.

Swarthmore College President Rebecca Chopp. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Swarthmore College President Rebecca Chopp, Ph.D. Photo by Bruce Gilbert

The panel addressed several critical moral questions on the value of liberal arts education, including:

  • How do we ensure that college learning experiences enable graduates to attain not only employment, but the tools and motivation to live a life of moral thought and action?
  •  What responsibility do educational institutions and government have in protecting young adults from the burdens of long term student debt?
  • What are the societal consequences of creating a false dichotomy between educational experiences that foster market utility versus ethical habits of mind?
  • Will a weakening of arts and science offerings similarly weaken the developing ability of young adults to discern, preserve, and pursue moral goods for themselves and for subsequent generations?

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.