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Over the past decade, the liberal arts have seemed to suffer a large decline, primarily

due to the fact that society has placed a heavy emphasis on the importance of having a job-
targeted educational system. It is a common misconception that there are no jobs available for
people majoring in liberal arts. However, the job market is specifically interested in employing
people who are technologically literate. This, particularly, is why I believe that the liberal arts
need to undergo reconstruction- a revamping of sorts. Although, there are many qualities and
abilities liberal arts majors possess, they are lacking the technological knowledge and modern
outlook that science, engineering, and business majors usually gain throughout their four years
in their undergraduate program. In order for the liberal arts presence to increase, changes,
specifically within classroom settings, must be made. After analyzing the primary research which
my team and I conducted, we found that these changes must allow for classroom activities to
play a bigger role in the students learning method. In addition, the article which I read for my
critical reading assignment, Digital Liberal Arts at a Distance, supported the idea that the main
change which needs to occur within liberal arts classrooms is that technology should be
incorporated and utilized to its fullest extent. With the elimination of a traditional, lecture-style
classroom, liberal arts will have a definite increase in appeal, and will become a job targeted-
educational system which focuses on stimulating professionalism and technological literacy
amongst their students. It will also increase in efficiency, as students will be more likely to truly
retain the information which they are being taught in class.
Throughout the inquiry project, my team and I worked together to create a survey which
would further expand our research of the liberal arts decline that has been witnessed for the last
ten years. We used questions that asked specifics in regards to learning methods, flipped
classroom efficiency, etc. and made it a point to eliminate any bias which we could have implied
within the questions. Then, we sent our survey out to friends and family via social media. The
results were enlightening. We found that the majority of our survey takers were aware that there
was a decline in liberal arts. In addition, the majority also viewed liberal arts to be important in
society today. (Kharnas, Dehart, Bobins, & Malmfelt, 2017) This suggested that the liberal arts
can have an increased presence again. They just need a few tweaks and updates. This is
further emphasized by the results we received from the question, Which way helps you learn
material better? (Kharnas, Dehart, Bobins, & Malmfelt, 2017) The majority said that they learn
best through class assignments. One of the biggest issues with todays liberal arts education
system is that it still uses the traditional, lecture-style classroom, which is incredibly outdated
and inefficient. By adopting a different classroom setting, such as a flipped or active learning
classroom, students would be watching their lectures outside of class, which would allow for the
professor to focus on using class assignments to reinforce the ideas which were presented in
the lecture. This change would largely increase students interest in the class, and would also
ensure that their performance improves.
In addition to the survey which we conducted, for the inquiry project, we had to complete
a critical reading assignment. The article I used discussed a pilot program which altered the
classroom setting of a liberal arts course by making it into a digital, distance-taught seminar.
The class included students from fifteen different universities, and focused on helping prepare
them for careers where liberal arts thinking is essential. (Pearson, Ellen Holmes, 2016) In
addition, it utilized technology to the fullest extent by incorporating various videoconferencing
applications, blogging websites, and social media as forms of communication amongst students
and their professor (Pearson, Ellen Holmes, 2016) This program showed massive promise and
proved that the liberal arts undergoing reconstruction, specifically in terms of classroom setting,
would be beneficial to both the students, and liberal arts education system, in general. By
adopting an existing new classroom setting, such as a flipped classroom, or even creating a
different one that would foster professionalism and focus on increasing technological literacy,
the liberal arts system would be increasing their level of efficiency, in the sense that students
would be better prepared for their careers. In addition, according to results of the pilot program,
eliminating the traditional, lecture-style classroom would contribute to a greater sense of
engagement and collective purpose, (Pearson, Ellen Holmes, 2016) amongst students. In other
words, not only would a change in teaching method help students attain skills which the job
market seeks, but also, it would ensure that students are fully participating and interested in the
class.
Overall, after concluding the research for the inquiry project, I am sure that updating the
current liberal arts education system would prove to be beneficial to students, professors, and
universities. In addition, it would lead to an increase in liberal arts by heightening the appeal of
the program and fostering professionalism and technological literacy amongst its students.
Although some may believe that marketing and branding is the way to increase the liberal arts
presence, I am inclined to disagree. The goal is for liberal arts to be able to meet the
requirements that the job market sets, and to cater to students in a way that helps prepare them
for their future careers. Although marketing and branding may temporarily increase the amount
of people who would consider obtaining a liberal arts degree, it would cause a shift in the way
liberal arts are perceived. Specifically, they would become known for catering to elitists and the
wealthy, implying that the middle or lower class, should not pursue a liberal arts degree. It would
be a lot easier and in the long run, more efficient, to remodel the classroom setting which is
used for liberal arts courses. The change would guarantee that the liberal arts are modernized
and capable of providing people with a degree that will benefit them when it comes time to apply
for jobs.

References
1. Kharnas, Jessica, Harrison Dehart, Loriann Bobins, and Samantha
Malmfelt. "Changes In Liberal Arts Education Survey." Welcome to
SurveyMonkey! N.p., 6 Apr. 2017. Web. 20 Apr. 2017.

Pearson, Ellen Holmes, et al. "Digital Liberal Arts at a Distance: A Consortium-Wide


Approach." Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, vol. 48, no. 3, 01 Jan. 2016, pp.
14-21. EBSCOhost, librarylink.uncc.edu/login?
url=http://search.ebscohost.com.librarylink.uncc.edu/login.aspx?
direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1110805&site=ehost-live&scope=site.