Thursday, April 21, 2016
Spring Symposium at Gordon College is an annual tradition!
Join the conversation
Theme / Description
Why Choose the Liberal Arts?
As the Association of American Colleges and Universities declares on its website:
“Liberal Education is an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. It provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g. science, culture, and society) as well as in-depth study in a specific area of interest. A liberal education helps students develop a sense of social responsibility, as well as strong and transferable intellectual and practical skills such as communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings.”
Despite the many established benefits of the liberal arts in the 21st century, liberal learning has been under attack, especially in recent times. Over the past few years, more and more political figures of both parties have urged students not to major in the liberal arts. Liberal art majors, according to these ill-informed politicians, are unable to find gainful employment. Given the new but quite narrow focus on vocational training as the only reason for education, a number of colleges and universities have given up on the liberal arts.
In this Symposium, we want to ask the question why the liberal arts, particularly in a Christian setting, still remain worthwhile in the 21st century. We will debunk popular myths that seek to devalue the liberal arts. We will discuss the benefits of a Christian liberal arts education that Gordon has offered to generations of students, for alumni trained in the Christian liberal arts have contributed to the betterment of society and have made an impact on the life of the Church.
As in previous years, students, faculty, and staff engage in discussions on Symposium day. Students may present academic papers, creative texts or offer roundtable discussions, debates, interviews, music, drama, and art displays.
The 2016 Gordon College Spring Symposium will conclude with Prof. Mark Roche’s keynote address. Prof. Roche is the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Professor of German Language and Literature and Concurrent Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame where he also served as Dean of Arts and Sciences from 1997-2008. The title of our Symposium is the title of his book which appeared in 2010 with the University of Notre Dame Press. Why Choose the Liberal Arts won the 2012 Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Frederic W. Ness Book Award.
Some Suggested Lines of Inquiry
The purpose of the Gordon College Symposium is to allow students, faculty and staff to engage in conversation about a major contemporary or perennial issue with a view towards learning from one another. All applications are welcomed. The events of Symposium day (21 April 2016) will take place mainly in the Ken Olsen Science Center. Coffee and tea will be served in the atrium throughout the day. Prof. Mark Roche’s keynote lecture will close the symposium. Applications may consist of (but are not limited to): panel discussions, debates, interviews, drama, art displays, music, and more.
"Making the Case for the Liberal Arts”
This year's keynote address will be given by Mark Roche, Rev. Edmund P. Joyce Professor of German Languages and Literature, University of Notre Dame.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Ken Olsen Science Center, Macdonald Auditorium
4:30 p.m. Lecture