Comments on: Recommendation 7. Swarthmore should create the Swarthmore Institute for Liberal Arts in the 21st Century to study and expand liberal arts education at Swarthmore, in the United States, and around the world. http://sp.swarthmore.edu/?p=986 Wed, 04 Jan 2012 19:02:32 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.1.1 By: owen http://sp.swarthmore.edu/?p=986#comment-997 owen Sat, 10 Sep 2011 03:23:58 +0000 http://blogs.swarthmore.edu/sp-pub-devl/?p=986#comment-997 Totally agree with this directive. Liberal arts colleges get short shrift in the current research university frenzy. The undergraduate emphasis of LAC's should be a prime attraction and is somehow lost in the second-class citizen status conferred by the media and popular opinion. The decline in appeal to top applicants of heretofore top LAC's (will not bother to specify the specific former peer institutions) is appalling and should be a wake up call to Swat, Amherst, Williams etc. When network TV, e.g., exalts the "winners" in the USNWR rankings, LAC's aren't even on the radar (on a par with community colleges). Top applicants should not have to completely sacrifice "prestige" to attend an unparalleled educational opportunity such as is to be found at Swarthmore. It is imperative to think about this trend rather than resting on the laurels of top LAC rankings which are mired in obscurity. Totally agree with this directive. Liberal arts colleges get short shrift in the current research university frenzy. The undergraduate emphasis of LAC’s should be a prime attraction and is somehow lost in the second-class citizen status conferred by the media and popular opinion. The decline in appeal to top applicants of heretofore top LAC’s (will not bother to specify the specific former peer institutions) is appalling and should be a wake up call to Swat, Amherst, Williams etc. When network TV, e.g., exalts the “winners” in the USNWR rankings, LAC’s aren’t even on the radar (on a par with community colleges). Top applicants should not have to completely sacrifice “prestige” to attend an unparalleled educational opportunity such as is to be found at Swarthmore. It is imperative to think about this trend rather than resting on the laurels of top LAC rankings which are mired in obscurity.

]]>
By: Joanna Williams http://sp.swarthmore.edu/?p=986#comment-991 Joanna Williams Wed, 07 Sep 2011 03:56:42 +0000 http://blogs.swarthmore.edu/sp-pub-devl/?p=986#comment-991 This strategic proposal sounds a lot like the ideals of the 1950's, when I was a student. On the one hand it is reassuring that these have not been lost. On the other hand, in the 1950's Swarthmore's vision of the liberal arts was very Eurocentric. I'd like to hear a broader vision, which is in fact in effect with faculty in languages and religious studies. Could cross-cultural goals be included? This strategic proposal sounds a lot like the ideals of the 1950′s, when I was a student. On the one hand it is reassuring that these have not been lost. On the other hand, in the 1950′s Swarthmore’s vision of the liberal arts was very Eurocentric. I’d like to hear a broader vision, which is in fact in effect with faculty in languages and religious studies. Could cross-cultural goals be included?

]]>
By: Tim Burke http://sp.swarthmore.edu/?p=986#comment-977 Tim Burke Tue, 06 Sep 2011 11:41:29 +0000 http://blogs.swarthmore.edu/sp-pub-devl/?p=986#comment-977 People who've been involved in the planning process, and for that matter my colleagues in general, probably know this is the part of the plan that excites me the most. There's still a lot of room to think about what kinds of specific programs and designs might best define the Institute, but at its heart, this is a creative response to something that faculty and staff told us again and again: that they want to have more and wider conversations across and within disciplines, more opportunities to contemplate what it is that we are trying to achieve at Swarthmore and in our wider work as scholars and teachers and advisors, to really take the promise of the liberal arts idea to the next level. A lot of colleges and universities have institutes or centers that encourage intellectual exploration and innovation, but I think this plan builds on that kind of concept and adds some important new elements. It's not just the commitment to advocacy for the liberal arts in the wider public sphere but a recognition that the first, best defense of the idea of a liberal arts education is to demonstrate it, to take those conversations that we want to nurture within Swarthmore and then invite our various publics to witness and participate in those conversations. The Institute will hopefully make how we teach and think and research more visible, more inspirational, more connected to the wider world. I also think it's really important that the door will swing both ways, that the Institute will argue for the liberal arts as an idea and a practice while helping the Swarthmore community stay aware of serious material and philosophical challenges to that idea in a changing world. People who’ve been involved in the planning process, and for that matter my colleagues in general, probably know this is the part of the plan that excites me the most. There’s still a lot of room to think about what kinds of specific programs and designs might best define the Institute, but at its heart, this is a creative response to something that faculty and staff told us again and again: that they want to have more and wider conversations across and within disciplines, more opportunities to contemplate what it is that we are trying to achieve at Swarthmore and in our wider work as scholars and teachers and advisors, to really take the promise of the liberal arts idea to the next level. A lot of colleges and universities have institutes or centers that encourage intellectual exploration and innovation, but I think this plan builds on that kind of concept and adds some important new elements. It’s not just the commitment to advocacy for the liberal arts in the wider public sphere but a recognition that the first, best defense of the idea of a liberal arts education is to demonstrate it, to take those conversations that we want to nurture within Swarthmore and then invite our various publics to witness and participate in those conversations. The Institute will hopefully make how we teach and think and research more visible, more inspirational, more connected to the wider world. I also think it’s really important that the door will swing both ways, that the Institute will argue for the liberal arts as an idea and a practice while helping the Swarthmore community stay aware of serious material and philosophical challenges to that idea in a changing world.

]]>