Colorado May Drop 'Liberal' From 'Liberal Education'

June 21, 2018

The University of Colorado Board of Regents may drop the word "liberal" from the phrase "liberal education" in the university system's statement of purpose, The Daily Camera reported. Currently, part of the university's official mission is stated this way: "The University of Colorado was created and is maintained to afford men and women a liberal education in the several branches of literature, arts, sciences and the professions." University officials said that the idea was to clarify the university's role, since many people don't understand the meaning of "liberal education" and to reflect the university's professional programs. Others have speculated that the university doesn't want to appear politically liberal.

The Association of American Colleges & Universities is a major national proponent of liberal education, and argues that it is relevant to professional students as well as those in the liberal arts. The organization defines liberal education this way: "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."

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