The Philosophy of General Education
Undergraduate education offers not only specialized knowledge and professional skills, but also the multiple views and general intellectual abilities developed by the study of liberal arts and sciences. General Education is the component of the undergraduate curriculum devoted to exposing students to multiple areas of knowledge, methods of inquiry, and ideas that the College and scholarly community believe are common to well-educated persons. General Education forms the basis for developing important intellectual capacities and skills. It also provides a strong foundation for future learning, both within a college major and for the rest of one’s life.
Some people believe that general education simply means courses to “get out of the way.” We could not disagree more. Instead, general education forms the foundation for a life-time of learning, and is a critical component of liberal education. According to the American Association of Colleges and Universities, liberal education is, “a philosophy of education that empowers individuals, liberates the mind from ignorance, and cultivates social responsibility.” And general education is “the part of a liberal education shared by all students. It provides broad exposure to multiple disciplines and forms the basis for developing important intellectual and civic capacities.”