Universities Make Liberal Arts Accessible

As college-bound high school seniors narrow their choices down to one institution, the opinion-page article ``In Defense of a Liberal-Arts Education,'' April 21, was most appropriate. Far from being ``old-fashioned,'' a liberal arts education is timeless, and I've been pleased to hear eminent futurists laud the liberal arts as the one curriculum that equips graduates to adapt to rapid changes in technology, the economy, and career patterns.

At the same time, the article misleads by suggesting that independent, private liberal arts colleges are the only places that offer liberal arts degree programs. The author doesn't tell his student readers - and their parents - that a university is simply a cluster of colleges, and that virtually all respectable universities encompass a college of liberal arts (sometimes named college of arts and sciences, college of arts and letters, or college of humanities).

Such academic units are often more geographically and financially accessible than the small, elite colleges he mentions.

There are many independent liberal arts colleges that do not measure up to the four criteria for excellence that he cites. And there are many liberal arts colleges on university campuses that fully meet his standards.

The important thing for the class entering college in 1994 is to research college options carefully and to plan on incorporating the values and substance of the liberal arts in their college curricula, regardless of their chosen major field. Stuart J. Bullion, Orono, Maine

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