Reading List: Why Choose the Liberal Arts?

Why Choose the Liberal Arts?

by Mark William Roche

In a world where the value of a liberal arts education is no longer taken for granted, Mark William Roche lucidly and passionately argues for its essential importance. Drawing on more than thirty years of experience in higher education as a student, faculty member, and administrator, Roche deftly connects the broad theoretical perspective of educators to the practical needs and questions of students and their parents.

Roche develops three overlapping arguments for a strong liberal arts education: first, the intrinsic value of learning for its own sake, including exploration of the profound questions that give meaning to life; second, the cultivation of intellectual virtues necessary for success beyond the academy; and third, the formative influence of the liberal arts on character and on the development of a sense of higher purpose and vocation. Together with his exploration of these three values—intrinsic, practical, and idealistic—Roche reflects on ways to integrate them, interweaving empirical data with personal experience. Why Choose the Liberal Arts? is an accessible and thought-provoking work of interest to students, parents, and administrators.

“A wise and inspiring meditation on the value of an education in the liberal arts, one that is informed by long experience, enriched by mature reflection, and not neglectful of commonsense practicalities. It beckons as a kindly light amid the encircling gloom of so much contemporary commentary on American higher education.” — Francis Oakley, President Emeritus, Williams College

Available from the University of Notre Dame Presss or in the ENGAGE library.

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About Dr. J. Metzker

I believe in the power of a liberal education to transform individuals and society. I am currently the Executive Director of the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence. Formerly, I led a community engagement initiative and held a full professorship in chemistry at a public liberal arts university. I am a proud product of The Evergreen State College.
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