Liberal arts defenders should focus on outputs to communicate value

February 17, 2015

Brian Mitchell, Director of the Edvance Foundation, a US-based education non-profit, says that advocates for the liberal arts must focus on measurable outputs rather than "high-minded and cerebral" arguments. He says that the skills often associated with the liberal arts–writing, communication, using and integrating technology, applying quantitative methods–are measurable outcomes that are in high demand by employers. Shifting to the language of output, he says, will convey the value of the liberal arts in terms that align with the needs of the workforce and the mindset of the American consumer. He cites the example of a Pennsylvania-based "baccalaureate outcomes" alumni study as providing a possible model to measure these outcomes, and says that liberal arts colleges should collaborate with one another to provide a way to measure the success of their graduates. Huffington Post