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Why Choose the Liberal Arts? Paperback – August 20, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Explaining the value of a liberal arts education to someone who does not have one can be difficult. First, one must explain what liberal arts education means and then explain its value. Roche does an admirable job of explaining both. . . . The book is clearly written, nicely crafted into four thematically organized chapters, well argued in a reasonable and balanced manner, and convincingly supported by a substantial body of research. It will prove valuable reading for anyone concerned with the state of the modern university and the future of the liberal arts.” —Choice


“Writing with students, parents, faculty members, and administrators in mind, Roche argues for the importance of a liberal arts education and outlines its three important values: intrinsic, practical, and idealist. He shows how this education is valuable for learning for its own sake, cultivates intellectual virtues necessary for success beyond college, and has a formative influence on character and the development of a sense of higher purpose and vocation.” —Book News Inc.

About the Author

Mark William Roche is the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Professor of German Language and Literature and concurrent Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. From 1997 to 2008, Roche served as dean of Notre Dame's College of Arts and Letters. His books include Why Literature Matters in the 21st Century and The Intellectual Appeal of Catholicism and the Idea of a Catholic University, the latter published by the University of Notre Dame Press.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press; 1st Edition edition (August 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026804032X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0268040321
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
As a Director for an educational service provider (primarily serving Liberal Arts colleges), I recently attended Roche's lecture on this book and was so fascinated I had to buy it after. He hits the target on how misguided the general public is on the value of a liberal arts degree compared to a STEM or pre-professional degree and what we can do to start to correct this perception, first in ourselves, and then to those near us in our spheres of influence.

Roche covers it all in this book, and organizes his thoughts in a way that tells the reader 'here is what you and society have been trained to think regarding liberal arts, but a shift in focus can bring much more value.' Also, to change the emphasis of "value" is helpful...since (in my mind) knowing how to think rather than what to think might not pay off in the first few years, but pays great dividends long term. There are other benefits besides dollars, but even those other benefits impacts a liberal arts grad's career.

Business leaders need to read this book because it will show them what is missing from their business by simply hiring pre-professional college graduates. Prospective college graduates and their parents need to read this book because it will help you sell yourself to a world which underappreciates habits learned in a liberal arts environment. College staff and faculty need to read this book as it supports what we already know, that a graduate of the liberal arts is better off long term for several reasons.

You'll have to pick up the book to read how. I plan on recommending this book to the liberal arts colleges I serve.
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Format: Paperback
There was a time when the question that forms the title of Mark William Roche’s book would not have been asked nearly so often, and when it was asked, it would not have generated nearly so much defensiveness as it does today. But that was another time. In an age of “relevance” and “outcomes” in higher education, of “disrupted” and “flipped” classrooms, and of educators and administrators falling in line behind each successive Next Big Thing, a bit of defensiveness about the liberal arts is perhaps understandable. Roche’s contribution is earnest, appreciated, and mostly predictable.

Roche was Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame for over ten years, so he has not only thought about the value of the liberal arts (which includes not just philosophy, history, and literature, but math and science as well), he has spent a lot of time exploring ideas with students and colleagues, answering the questions of the skeptical, and advocating for the role of the liberal arts in a world obsessed with what it thinks of as relevance and immediate, measurable gains. It can be a dispiriting task at times. It is far easier to preach to the choir, which is what so much of the writing on the liberal arts feels like. Roche’s book is largely in that category as well. He tries to reach out to the skeptical and the uninitiated, and he points out why student, parents, teachers, employers, and others should find his arguments useful, but the fact remains that the book is not likely to find a large audience among the unconverted. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.

That is not to say that Roche’s book does not have value. Indeed, there is a lot here that I wish would attract a wider audience.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mark Roche has written an engaging and thoughtful book explaining in non-technical language just what the "liberal arts" are really about and why they matter so deeply in the 21st century. His explanation about the importance of recognizing the sciences, both natural and social, as part of the liberal arts is especially refreshing. And his insistence that there is far more to the liberal arts than "critical thinking" (which seems to be a current fetish in educational discourse) leads to a balanced perspective about the moral relevance of the liberal arts. Anyone, whether long acquainted with higher education or newly interested in the topic, must make time to read the book.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book for my masters program. I was expecting yet another snobbish, professory, train wreck. I was DELIGHTED to find this was written by a real human being for other human beings to read. THANK YOU!! The writing is straight forward and easy, dare I say, enjoyable to read. After only the first chapter I was very proud of choosing a humanities degree. I think this book should be required reading for every professor before they teach a single class. Again, thank you Mr. Roche.
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