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Do you really know what Liberal Arts are?

ACA's first European Policy Seminar after the summer break is on Liberal Arts (and Sciences) education in Europe. It will provide an introduction into the philosophy and the main features of Liberal Arts education, amongst them the college system, undergraduate research and (small) size. The seminar will also present and analyse varied examples of successful Liberal Arts programmes in different European countries. Its aim is to also to clarify the concept of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the core idea behind such education. 

Liberal Arts education originated from Europe and it was based on the seven liberal arts – artes liberales – which comprised those focusing on language (grammar, rhetoric and logic) and those with mathematical elements (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and theory of music). The idea behind artes liberales was that education should, above all, lead to a well-rounded and – free - person. Thus the seven liberal arts were the foundation for any further training and specialisation. 

Nowadays, Liberal Arts Colleges are an integral and valued component of US higher education, but about 10 years ago, Europe began to 're-import'  liberal arts and science education. Liberal arts colleges are small in size and low in student-to-teacher ratio, and focus on academic skills and values and prepare students for graduate studies leading to careers in both research and in professional fields.

The added value of a Liberal Arts programme is an emphasis on Bildung. Bildung has two dimensions: a cognitive and a 'moral' one. The acquisition of academic skills such as critical and independent thinking, the ability to collect and analyse data and to critically assess them, the ability to think 'beyond the box' and to master a body of knowledge in a particular domain, is the more cognitive part of undergraduate education. 'Moral' competencies are the other dimension of Liberal Arts education. Students and faculty usually display a high level of civic engagement and global responsibility. They want to make a difference, they aim at societal change. This concept is being implemented in the college system, where students live and learn together.

Join us on 9 October and contribute to the discussion!

For programme and registrations click here.