Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Transylvania University recently continued its national conversation about liberal arts colleges through a seminar called Twenty-first Century Liberal Education: A Contested Concept.

The Transylvania Seminar included 22 faculty participants from schools as far away as Middlebury College in Vermont and Wesleyan Nebraska University. Sessions ran July 23-25.

“With its historical prominence, Transylvania is the ideal university to continue to host the collaboration of distinguished scholars to examine the sustainability of liberal education in this century,” said Laura Bryan, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the university. The public was invited to the seminar’s two public talks.

Seamus Carey

Transylvania University President Seamus Carey spoke on “Less is More: The Challenge of not Over-Administering the Liberal Arts.” Carey came to Transylvania in July of 2014 after four years as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Sacred Heart University. He also was the chairman of Manhattan College’s philosophy department.

Jeff Freyman

Jeff Freyman, professor emeritus at Transylvania, spoke on “Humanizing the Subject: Thoughts on a Curriculum for Liberal Education in the Twenty-First Century.” Freyman taught courses in comparative and international politics from 1980 until his retirement in 2014.

The seminar also provided faculty participants an overview of liberal education throughout history and invited them to apply its principles to courses they teach at their own schools.

Among the seminar’s other topics were “Reconnecting the Liberal Arts with the Natural Sciences and Mathematics” and “Entertaining Possibilities: Unconventional Allies and Approaches to Liberal Education.”

Bryan stressed the importance of discussing and debating the theory and practice of liberal education. “Although its tradition has been contested, the preparation of globally responsible citizens in a contemporary society is necessary now more than ever,” she said.

The seminar coordinators were John Svarlien, professor of classics; Ellen Cox, associate professor of philosophy; and Liz Corsun, associate professor of English.