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Committee examines role of liberal arts in Austin Peay's mission, curriculum

May 7, 2001

Some 10 years ago, Austin Peay was designated as the state's liberal arts university. The label was welcomed by many, considered undesirable by some, viewed as ludicrous by others.

The designation continues to solicit mixed reactions. The result has been what some describe as a 'schizophrenic" approach to the University's mission.

What is the value of a liberal arts education? Can Austin Peay successfully combine a liberal arts-focused curriculum with the narrow, vocational approach many students seem to prefer?

Dr. Sherry Hoppe has formed a special committee to answer those questions and others related to the role of liberal arts at the University. Members of the committee are Dr. Jim Diehr, Dr. Tim Winters, Dr. Willodean Burton, Dr. Allene Phy-Olsen, Dr. Don Luck, Dr. John Volker, and Dr. Richard Gildrie. The vice president for academic affairs also will be a member.

The committee meets regularly, and its members hope to have some suggestions to pass along to the Academic Council and the curriculum committees in December.

"Core studies are done about every five years anyway," says Dr. Richard Gildrie, "but our hope is to do a more thorough review and offer suggestions about how the liberal arts mission can be implemented throughout the curriculum."

Faculty members should feel free to share their thoughts about Austin Peay's liberal arts mission with any member of the committee.