Cultural Institutions, Theatre, and Humanistic Liberal Arts Education: Where Do We Go from Here?

Perennially, with justification, those who support limited choice in general, liberal education argue that menu systems (and their slightly more structured curricular cousins) lead to incoherence in the first years of the undergraduate curriculum.  On the other hand, most institutions are organized into disciplinary departments, and a menu system has been almost universally recognized as the best “market” mechanism to induce or introduce students to majors in various fields. But what happens when, particularly in the humanities, the very fields that are represented by departments are thought to be ineffective in employing their students, technologically backward in their approaches to the world, and, maybe most importantly, demographically cut off from new recruits.  What strategies then?  That’s what a recent Harvard report, and the Academic Council and Deans of America and Phi Beta Kappa in a recent conference, and Arum and Roksa’s Academically Adrift all seem to be asking. As it turns out, happily these questions are asked in terms of the fate of liberal arts education. Continue reading Cultural Institutions, Theatre, and Humanistic Liberal Arts Education: Where Do We Go from Here?

What Is a Core Curriculum?

Over the last half century, general education at colleges and universities in the United States has become an à la carte buffet where students choose courses from nearly endless options. In the worst cases, students are not even required to take courses in history, literature, mathematics, or science. The result is often a fractured education that fails to provide students with a coherent view of its purposes.

In response to this open curriculum, the idea of a core curriculum has experienced a resurgence. Continue reading What Is a Core Curriculum?

A Professor in Babylon

I have occasionally called the residence halls at Concordia University Irvine, Babylon beyond the CU Center (the CU Center is the chapel on campus). I don’t say this because our residence halls are full of moral degradation and licentious behavior. Though we encounter our share of behavioral, moral, and psychological challenges, this is not the point. The point is that working and living in the residence halls has often felt like I am in exile from my brothers and sisters on the academic side of the house, even though I teach with them there as well. Thus, my world is Babylon beyond the CU Center. Continue reading A Professor in Babylon

Asking the Right Questions

“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.” -Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

The questions we ask determine both the quality of information we receive, and how applicable it is to the problem at hand. When I was a teenager, if I was coming home late at night and my mother asked, “Where have you been?” I could answer, “With friends.” This could allow me to answer a simple question with a shallow answer and dart up to my bedroom. If my mother were to ask, “With whom did you go out, and what did you do while you were gone?” I would either have to make up an answer, or tell the truth and live with the consequences.

In our Core History courses at Concordia University Irvine, we stress asking the right questions.  Continue reading Asking the Right Questions

Business Preparation and the Core Curriculum

Business Student

The best global managers are well-rounded, well-traveled, and well-read.

Students new to campus sometimes question the relevance of Concordia University Irvine’s Core liberal arts and sciences courses to their career preparation. Business faculty smile at this. We all note the connection between an informed and liberal world view and management success.

The best managers have the skills that the Core seeks to imbue. Continue reading Business Preparation and the Core Curriculum

The Q&I Forum of Concordia University Irvine