Category Archives: Featured Programs

What is Graduate Liberal Studies? #2

Skidmore College has joined Wesleyan University of Connecticut in producing its own beautiful web video on the appeals of graduate liberal studies.

And Wesleyan:


Book party in South Bend

Probably the only AGLSP member to sponsor a university press, the IU South Bend program this week will celebrate the publication of the first two books in its On Their Shoulders: Race Relations and Civil Rights in South Bend, Indiana series.

Welcome, St. Norbert College

Greetings to the faculty and incoming students at the new Master of Liberal Studies program at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. In their press release inviting people in the region to an open house for prospective students, we find these notes about their plans:

The primary audience is young professionals who are established in their careers but interested in pursing a graduate degree that develops both their analytical and communications skills, broadening their knowledge of the world and of themselves.

“We believe this new graduate program will expand and enhance people’s lives. It will likely also enhance their professional lives,” said Michael Marsden, dean of the college and academic vice president. He added that, in the ever-changing global economic scene, there is a greater emphasis on skills and knowledge that can be transferred from one job to another, a trait Marsden believes employers are seeking more and more.

Associate dean Howard Ebert directs the new program.

Make your intellectual life “Central” again

North Central College’s Master of Arts in Liberal Studies uses that heading to introduce prospective graduate students to the benefits of the program and the diversity of their future classmates:

And make your ideas work for you in the home, on the job, and for your community.

Make important connections not only with the college’s best faculty, but also with students who are bright, committed, and diverse.

In class you might be sitting by corporate executives, artists, teachers, writers, home makers, sales people, community activists, scientists…and more.

Among the distinctive courses offered in the program are these four electives on thinking and creativity:

570 Critical Thinking. A study of various perspectives concerning critical thinking. In particular, the course explores various relationships between creative and critical thinking with specific attention to what such relationships mean for the pursuit of truth; the development of writers; and the methods teachers and others who lead can use to enhance critical and creative thinking in others.

572 Creative Writing and Public Discourse. A workshop in the writing and analysis of poetry and prose fiction as a means of helping students use creative writing techniques to broaden the nature of public discussion, and of encouraging them to articulate attitudes towards social and ethical issues creatively.

574 Judgment, Decision, and Choice. An examination of various ways we understand the world, gather information about it, and use this information to make choices and decisions. Readings and research exploring these processes are covered and then applied to topic areas such as interpersonal relations, law, economics, and medicine.

576 Creative Thought. This course studies how we can nurture creative thought in ourselves and others. It explores the nature of creativity and the obstacles to it, and helps students apply creativity to many aspects of life – whether at work, home, or in the community; as creative problem solvers; or as artists, scientists, or whatever sphere of life is important to them.

It’s always interesting to see some of the lively course offerings at AGLSP member programs — do you have a favorite at your school?

Capstone projects at Kent State

At the Kent State University Master of Liberal Studies web site, check out the diversity of capstone projects completed by their students in recent years. Here are a few examples:

  • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:  Alan Freed, Cleveland, and the Origins of Rock and Roll
  • The Problem of Family Violence:  The Battered Woman’s Experience
  • The Myth of Racial Democracy in Brazilian Race Relations
  • The John Wayne Screen Persona: An American Icon for the Cold War
  • Unionid Mussels and Substrate Stability:  Experiments in an Artificial Stream

And more…

Voracious curiosity

That’s one of the best, most fitting slogans of any of the 125+ graduate liberal studies programs across North America.  Here is how they tell the story of their program at Hamline University in St. Paul:

The Graduate School of Liberal Studies promotes the ideals and values of liberal arts learning. It encourages meaningful dialogue and inquiry across disciplinary boundaries, enabling students to gain a deeper understanding of the human cultural heritage and the issues of contemporary life. The Graduate School of Liberal Studies also prepares students who wish to specialize in creative writing for adults or for children and young adults and to teach writing at the college level.