Contact President Ford at: email@example.com
The need for a liberal arts education has never been greater. It is this
education that provides the essential link between thinking critically
and living humanelybetween the mastery of knowledge that creates
confident leaders, the questioning that creates wise ones, and the respect
for life and learning that finds in this tension the most creative solutions.
AND Living Humanely?
Wabash College President
When I first heard that the theme for the summer issue
of Wabash Magazine would be Think critically
humanely, I thought two topics would be featuredone to
think critically, the other to live humanely. I soon
learned, however, that Steve Charles and his colleagues envisioned one
topic: thinking critically in order to live humanely. This linking of
the two topics brought me up short, probably because I had assumed unconsciously
that they were in conflict or in tension, not linked, to one another.
Thinking critically, it seemed, often made it hard, if not impossible,
to be humane, charitable, civil; the stronger the critical power, the
harder to be nice. Given these unspoken assumptions, I watched with special
interest as Steve built this issue of the magazine.
Our goal at the College is to help our young men become gentlemen who
always think critically and live humanely. Even if these two notions are
not naturally or easily linked, they need to be joined if one is to live
a good life. The pages of this magazine demonstrate our continuing effort
in this regard.
In her course on bio-ethics, philosophy professor Cheryl Hughes teaches
future doctors to be sure they ask the appropriate first questions;
but her conviction extends to other majors as well.
These are life issues, and they affect people who are going to be
leaders, regardless of their vocation, Hughes explains. Our
students need to be able to consider these issues thoughtfully, to be
able to articulate their positions and have conversations about them with
others in their community.
These words speak to the heart of a liberal arts educationits integration
of disciplines and dedication to educating mind, body, and spirit. Recent
events in the business and financial world bear witness to our need to
educate men to become leaders with such integrity.
While we do not offer a major in accounting, we need as part of our liberal
arts education to graduate men who understand the importance of the rules
of accounting not only for how they affect a corporations profitability,
but also for how they shape public policy and impact the country. The
scandals involving Enron and WorldCom (and who knows what other firms
by the time this issue gets printed) make it clear that as a society we
have not been very successful in helping people understand how judgment
goes into preparing financial reports. We need to do better, both with
the technical understanding and those important first questions.
Liberal arts graduates need to know the myriad ways in which accounting
laws and regulations can affect all sections of this country, even if
they never had a course in accounting.
Because there is so much to know, the need for a liberal arts education
has never been greater. It is this education that provides the essential
link between thinking critically and living humanelybetween the
mastery of knowledge that creates confident leaders, the questioning that
creates wise ones, and the respect for life and learning that finds in
this tension the most creative solutions.
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