Who are we and where have we been are questions fundamental to the human existence that are studied by UMBC students as part of a well-rounded liberal arts education. Scott Casper, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Professor of History, recently provided a commentary on WYPR’s Humanities Connection in which he advocated for studying the humanities as a way to prepare students for a thoughtful and civically engaged life.
“In a world of polarized politics and cost-benefit analysis, our realm of possibilities is often cast as ‘either-or': Republican or Democratic, guns or butter, right or wrong. A liberal arts education encourages us to imagine another approach: not ‘either-or,’ but ‘both-and,’ a world of complexities rather than easy answers, interconnections rather than boundaries,” said Casper.
As part of his commentary, Casper outlined five distinct areas in which UMBC students encounter “both-and”: the global and the local, the changing and the timeless, the intellectual and the spiritual, the arts and the sciences, and thought and action.
“By asking questions that are fundamental to human existence and by encouraging ‘both-and,’ rather than simplistic ‘either-or,’ answers, the liberal arts prepare students at UMBC and elsewhere for a lifetime of reflection and purpose,” Casper said, adding, “the interplay of reflection and purpose is the bedrock of thoughtful citizenship, and the hallmark of a life well-lived.”
To listen to the full segment that aired on Humanities Connection, click here.