Liberal Education

Can the Liberal Arts and Entrepreneurship Work Together?

Liberal arts courses aren’t meeting students’ needs, but we can’t just turn them into business courses.

From the Editor: Welcome to the United States After January 20, 2009

This issue of Academe coincides with the inauguration of the forty-fourth president of the United States, a historic occasion by any reckoning. And our concerns in the world of higher education in many ways echo the challenges to the nation at large. First, in this issue of Academe, we address the youth vote—the concerns of graduate students and young faculty members—in a few different ways.

The Ultimate Utility of Nonutility

Forget trying to measure learning. The greatest value of the liberal arts can be that students start to understand the complexity, confusion, and contradiction at the heart of human experience.

From the Editor: Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

Even in the face of increasingly cataclysmic news for the humanities, and despite having two university degrees in underperforming esoterica—that is to say, French—I still feel defiant instead of resigned.

And yet. What a bloodied state we’re in.

Strangers on a Train

A chance encounter provides a lesson in complicity and the never-ending crisis in the humanities.

The Humanities on Life Support

The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of The Humanities. Frank Donoghue. New York: Fordham University Press, 2008.

Higher Education? How Colleges are Wasting our Money and Failing our Kids— And What We Can Do About It. Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus. New York: Times Books, 2010.

The Humanities and the Dream of America. Geoffrey Galt Harpham. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.

The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University. Louis Menand. New York: Norton, 2010.

Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities. Martha C. Nussbaum. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010.

From the Guest Editor: Professing Service: Charging the Humanities

“It’s a labor of love.” We say these words sneeringly, wryly, or utterly unselfconsciously when we explain how and why we undertake service to the profession. This work usually isn’t required by our departments and institutions, garners little recognition, and rarely results in promotions or raises. And yet, time and again, we enter into tasks that advance disciplinary goals as well as the goals of “the profession” in its most capacious definition.

Shaping the Humanities through Sustainable Service

Funny thing about pebbles dropped and the ripples they create. The pebble I dropped years ago was agreeing to serve as a student liaison to the department in my graduate program at the University of Texas at Austin. That position, which normally meant little more than attendance at regularly scheduled graduate student and department meetings, quickly created ripples of labor activism that have now spanned and shaped much of my career.

An Ethic of Service in Composition and Rhetoric

Research, teaching, and service—the traditional tripartite division of academic work. The kind of institution and the nature of institutional priorities have some bearing on the arrangement of the first two parts, but service always comes last. From our shared perspective as faculty members and administrators in writing studies, though, the nature of service is both more meaningful and more complicated than this seemingly straightforward arrangement would suggest.


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