The liberal arts and sciences are fundamental to excellent scholarship, engaged citizenship, and rewarding careers.
Breadth of knowledge across subjects, supported by the ability to investigate deeply into an idea, allows for the greatest flexibility and agency in all individual and professional pursuits. Genuine career readiness, in particular, does not end with proficiency in a fixed skill: it requires the capacity to adapt and refine; it requires a high level of comfort with change, uncertainty, and complexity; and it requires practice in collaboration and teamwork. These facilities and values emerge most fully from an education in the liberal arts and sciences, the rewards of which increase when introduced in adolescence.
The Value of Learning in the Liberal Arts
A liberal arts education provides a broad educational base that can create well-rounded youth who are knowledgeable, skilled, and open to diverse ideas and perspectives. This content enhances students’ ability to learn, work and be productive citizens in their adult life. Seifert et al. (2008) found that—regardless of background characteristics, college experiences or practices—a liberal arts education had a positive impact on intercultural effectiveness, inclination to inquire, lifelong learning, wellbeing, and leadership. Bonvillian and Murphy (1996) posit that liberal arts colleges benefit their students by providing an interdisciplinary education in historic ideals, morals, devotion to quality, and a clear and direct vision of the future.
Research suggests that certain curricular designs improve student learning. LeCompte and Dworkin (1991) described four curricular standards that have been found to raise student achievement: rigor that maximizes student potential, expansion of the mind through critical thinking, diversity and appreciation for difference and individuality, and the acquisition of real world skills. Applebee et al. (2003) found that discussion-based learning can accelerate comprehension of difficult material in middle and high school students. The BHSEC curriculum emphasizes content and practices that have been identified as benefitting students in the empirical literature.
- Understanding of the scientific method—its approaches to inquiry, its strengths and limitations as a mode of analysis, and a basic comprehension of the fundamental laws governing both physical phenomena and human behavior
- Appreciation of several forms of artistic and literary expression, the creative process, and the disciplined use of imagination, formal structure, and aesthetic values
- Knowledge of some of the most influential works of Western culture and critical understanding of the values, assumptions, and ideologies that they express;
- Knowledge and appreciation of modes of thought of other cultures, including non‐Western cultures and groups or societies that exist as distinct subcultures within Western culture
- A sense of history—ideas, movements, peoples, and events of the past—and an understanding of how our view of the past is shaped and shapes our understanding of the present and future
- Sensitivity to the moral and ethical dimensions of thought and action.