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Liberal arts in a new era

Wayne B. Jennings (Director of The Institute for Learning and Teaching,based at The Institute for Learning and Teaching, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 4 February 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine the effectiveness and outcomes of liberal arts in preparing people for adult roles.


Review of research and opinions about the liberal arts.


Liberal-arts outcomes results have fallen short of expectations though this may be a short coming of higher education generally. A new era of the knowledge society will shrink liberal-arts departments in humanities, literature and philosophy.

Research limitations/implications

Liberal arts need definition and clarity of expected outcomes.

Practical implications

Jobs in liberal arts colleges will decrease given its weak effectiveness. Online education for liberal-arts areas will grow explosively.


Liberal-arts critics have been active for decades. What is different today is world wide access to all information 24/7 and massive open online courses (MOOCs).



B. Jennings, W. (2014), "Liberal arts in a new era", On the Horizon, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 19-22.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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