Why Choose the Liberal Arts?Book - 2010
"A wise and inspiring meditation on the value of an education in the liberal arts, one that is informed by long experience, enriched by mature reflection, and not neglectful of commonsense practicalities. It beckons as a kindly light amid the encircling gloom of so much contemporary commentary on American higher education." -- Francis Oakley, President Emeritus, Williams College
"In a resistant country in a resistant age, Mark Roche dares to make the case for education in the liberal arts in terms both broad and deep. He makes forcefully the obligatory case for the practical value of a liberal arts education as a preparation for whatever profession--a case that must continue to be made, especially in these times. But on the basis of wide reading and long experience as a scholar, teacher, and administrator in institutions large and small, he straightforwardly makes the case for the inherent value of study in the liberal arts and for the intimate relationship between that study and what life might actually be about. He foregrounds the truly big questions that are so often avoided in pursuit of the professional by both students and faculty. Unlike so many commentators, he is not a scold. He is a thoughtful advocate for an education in which young and old alike explore together what it means to be a human being and how one might be a better one." -- Don Michael Randel, President, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
"I love this book. Mark Roche lays out a fascinating and accurate case for the liberal arts." -- Donald R. Keough, Former President of The Coca-Cola Company
"With grace and passion, Mark Roche makes the compelling case--as timeless as the Greek poets and as timely as tomorrow's headlines--for studying the liberal arts" -- Mark Shields, Columnist and Commentator, PBS NewsHour
In a world where the value of a liberal arts education is no longer taken for granted, Mark William Roche lucidly and passionately argues for its essential importance. Drawing on more than thirty years of experience in higher education as a student, faculty member, and administrator, Roche deftly connects the broad theoretical perspective of educators to the practical needs and questions of students and their parents.
Roche develops three overlapping arguments for a strong liberal arts education: first, the intrinsic value of learning for its own sake, including exploration of the profound questions that give meaning to life; second, the cultivation of intellectual virtues necessary for success beyond the academy; and third, the formative influence of the liberal arts on character and on the development of a sense of higher purpose and vocation. Together with his exploration of these three values--intrinsic, practical, and idealistic--Roche reflects on ways to integrate them, interweaving empirical data with personal experience. Why Choose the Liberal Arts? is an accessible and thought-provoking work of interest to students, parents, and administrators.