Liberal Education Committee

Liberal Education Committee
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Liberal Education

Liberal Education 

The term “liberal education” refers to a philosophy of education that empowers individuals with broad knowledge and transferable skills, and that cultivates social responsibility and a strong sense of ethics and values.*

 *Adapted from Debra Humphreys, Making the Case for Liberal Education. Washing D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2006.

What does Liberal Education do?*

•Prepares us to live responsible, productive, and creative lives in a dramatically changing world

•Fosters a well-grounded intellectual resilience, a disposition toward lifelong learning, and an acceptance of responsibility for the ethical consequences of our ideas and actions

•Establishes foundations of knowledge and inquiry about nature, culture, and society

•Develops core skills of perception, analysis, and expression

•Cultivates a respect for truth

•Enables recognition of the importance of historical and cultural context

•Liberates us to explore connections among formal learning, citizenship, and service to our communities

*Adapted from the American Association of Colleges and Universities

Essential Learning Outcomes of a Liberal Education*

•Knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world

•Intellectual and practical skills

•Personal and Social Responsibility

•Integrative and Applied Learning


General Education compared to Liberal Education

Our current General Education program (GE III ) is often treated as a set of  broad courses students take before the major.  We hope to adopt a Liberal Education program that infuses knowledge and skills throughout the four years of college education.

A Liberal Education includes students majoring in all fields.

Within a Liberal Education framework, general education is that part of the curriculum shared by all students.  We plan to propose a program that both meets SUNY mandates for general education and exceeds them to fulfill liberal education goals.

SUNY General Education Requirement (GER)

  • 30 credits
  • Mandated Content: Basic Communication and Mathematics
  • 5 of the other 8 content areas: Natural Science, Social Science, American History, Western Civilization, Other World Civilizations, Humanities, the Arts, and Foreign Languages
  • Mandated Competencies: Critical Thinking and Information Management


Current New Paltz Requirements for Undergraduate Education

General Education

College-Wide Graduation Requirements

Resolution adopted by the faculty, May 2012