From the Editor
The founding mission of the public, comprehensive community college included vocational training, developmental education, community education, and its collegiate function: transfer and the liberal arts. Early on in its history, however, the community college s mission began to drift toward vocational training to such an extent that at the local, state, and national level the dominant narrative of the 21st–century community college portrays a job (re)training center more than an educational institution. While numerous books have described the growing threat to the liberal arts in 4–year colleges and universities, the response to mission shift within the community college has been muted. This volume offers a timely, much–needed, and persuasive argument for the importance of a liberal arts education, particularly in the humanities, for all students attending a public, comprehensive community college.
1. The Landscape of the Liberal Arts 3
Mark W. Roche
This chapter provides a historical overview of the liberal arts and argues for the importance of a liberal arts education for all students in higher education.
2. What Happened to the Liberal Arts? 11
In this chapter the author analyzes the forces that advocated for a focus on career–related fi elds within community colleges, causing the schools to shift away from their historical mission.
3. Two–Year Humanities: Let Me Count the Ways 21
This chapter describes some broad definitions of the humanities as currently being taught; examines a few extravagant claims for their value, including a few student complaints; and offers practical ways to teach the humanities to all community college students.
4. A President s View on the Importance of the Liberal Arts in Community Colleges 29
Sean A. Fanelli
In this chapter, the author argues that community college presidents must play a signifi cant role in fostering the liberal arts on their campuses.
5. Why Community College Students Need Great Books 41
J. M. Anderson
This chapter makes the case that the best way to educate community college students about the broader value of general education is through a streamlined curriculum centered on the Great Books.
6. Discovering History at the Community College 51
Emily Sohmer Tai
In this chapter the author describes a variety of innovative teaching methods to enliven the traditional history survey course by engaging students in the process of historical research and, in general, empowering them to master the unnatural act of thinking historically.
7. Loving All Your Neighbors: Why Community Colleges Need the Academic Study of Religion 61
In this chapter the author argues that community colleges need to increase students access to courses like World Religions to ensure that they are taught critical thinking, empathy, and cross–cultural communication.
8. How Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts Programs Prepare Students for the Workforce and for Life 69
Maureen Murphy Nutting
This chapter describes useful strategies for fostering the liberal arts across disciplines, including teaching linked and interdisciplinary courses and integrating off–campus learning opportunities.
9. A 21st–Century Humanities for the Community College 79
Barry Alford, Lucia Elden
Whereas much of the debate over the role of the humanities in the community colleges assumes a static version of the humanities, one grounded in literature and the classics, this chapter argues that the future of the humanities in the community colleges must be connected to a revision of humanist practice and application.
10. Sources on Liberal Arts in the Community College 89
M. Allison Kanny
This chapter offers an annotated list of references concerning the liberal arts in the community college.