Joel Schlesinger © Postmedia Network Inc.
It’s a seemingly age-old debate: What is the value of a liberal arts and science degree?
The answer extends beyond whether it is an important stepping stone for young adults pursuing careers in law, medicine and business, says the dean of arts and sciences at St. Mary’s University in Calgary.
“This kind of post-secondary education provides foundational skills for life,” says Dr. Karim Dharamsi. “Graduates demonstrate better analytical skills, alongside capacities for understanding points of view that they disagree with or haven’t considered. Students acquire a range of competencies important for any vocation.”
Perhaps now, more than ever, these abilities are needed amid growing economic uncertainty, in which graduates are likely to embark on many career paths in their lifetime. What’s more, skills such as critical thinking and basic scientific literacy are likely to serve students well in a world awash with misinformation.
“Each of us are responsible for judging whether our sources of information are reliable, whether what counts as evidence is well-researched and credible,” Dharamsi explains. “A liberal arts and sciences education enjoins students to consider self-disinterested ideals that can help shape a healthy democracy.”
Dharamsi further notes all St. Mary’s students take core courses that often foster this civic engagement in subjects including history, political science and philosophy.
“In this way, a liberal arts and sciences education helps to incubate our loftiest democratic values and the competencies required to protect them.”
Of course, an education at St. Mary’s offers other advantages, too, he adds. Its small campus means its approximately 1,100 students have more engagement with instructors, and each other.
Yet, more than anything, St. Mary’s is a reflection of Calgary’s vibrancy, Dharamsi adds.
“It’s a microcosm of Calgary’s growing diversity, but within the context of the liberal arts tradition.”
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Calgary Economic Development.