GREENVILLE,SC – December 2, 2009 – Furman University president David Shi is among82 college and university presidents and chancellors joining togetheras the Presidents’ Trust to make the case for the value of liberal artseducation in the 21st century.
Established by the Association of American Colleges and Universities,the Presidents’ Trust is a leadership group within the AAC&U’snational initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP):Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College.
“A liberal arts education is important because it exposes students to awide array of subjects and helps them learn to think critically andcreatively,” said Shi. “It pushes young people to look beyondtraditional boundaries for answers, to challenge inherited assumptionsand embrace new ideas. Most important, a liberal arts education fostersa thirst for lifelong learning. For all of these reasons and more,Furman is delighted to support this effort by the Association ofAmerican Colleges and Universities.”The group will be involved inadvocating for liberal arts education on economic, civic and studentrecruitment fronts. It also aims to integrate liberal arts andprofessional preparation on campus and chart a new direction forassessment and accountability.
“President Shi already is providing valuable leadership speaking outand ensuring that Furman students are receiving the kind of collegeeducation that will best prepare them for success in today’scompetitive global economy—an engaged and practical liberal education,”said AAC&U president Carol Geary Schneider.
“Members of the Trust are helping to redirect the national dialogue toaddress these critical issues. In this new global century, PresidentShi’s leadership will help ensure that all college students in allmajors receive the kind of excellent education they deserve—one thatprovides them with broad knowledge, sophisticated intellectual andpractical skills, a well-developed sense of personal and socialresponsibility, and the capacity to apply learning to new problems,”Schneider added.
The Presidents’ Trust will hold regional and national meetings and meetwith people both on and off campus as they discuss the core purposesand practices of liberal arts education. They also will provideleadership to advance reforms.
The Trust believes that such education in the 21st century shouldempower individuals with core knowledge and transferable skills andcultivate social responsibility and a strong sense of ethics andvalues. Characterized by challenging encounters with important issues,a liberal arts education should prepare graduates both for sociallyvalued work and for civic leadership.