“In the best of circumstances, an American liberal arts education… focuses on how to ask the right questions”
As an American, I’ve been immersed in the liberal arts all my life, so I’m always surprised when I’m asked by colleagues in the UK about its benefits, and how it could improve British higher education.
The breadth of a US liberal arts education is truly remarkable. Generally a four-year programme for undergraduates, it encompasses studies in the humanities, arts and sciences and increasingly stresses the informing interaction of the disciplines to prepare students for ever-changing life and work.
The UK understanding of liberal arts is arguably restricted to the humanities and does not include the sciences, thus limiting the flexibility of thought that comes from mixing academic disciplines often thought mutually exclusive.