The crucial role of liberal arts in higher education is being lost in universities worldwide, according to the vice-chancellor behind a new global network of colleges.
Christina Slade, head of Bath Spa University, said that global discussion about universities “privileges the hard sciences” while the identity of liberal arts is being “downplayed.” She added that the British government’s interest in vocational areas of study was also putting pressure on the field.
Professor Slade was speaking at the launch last week at Bath Spa of the Global Academy of Liberal Arts, a new network that brings together 16 universities around the world that offer liberal arts programs.
Institutions in the network will work on joint teaching programs, develop collaborative research and, it is hoped, offer opportunities for staff and students to move between them.
Such a network was needed to help develop new thinking and models of collaboration in the liberal arts, Slade said. “I don’t think we can survive without being international,” she added. “The liberal arts colleges have been under enormous pressure in the U.S. because people say they are expensive and don’t really pay off in terms of jobs,” she told Times Higher Education. <Read more.>