Liz Coleman on reinventing Liberal Arts Education

Liz Coleman, then President of Bennington College, gave a phenomenal TED talk in 2009 discussing the role of liberal arts education in the advancement of the public good. She discussed how Bennington was redesigning its curriculum with critical political and social challenges such as health, education, and the use of force as organizing focal points for learning.

“We intend to turn the intellectual and imaginative power, passion, and boldness of our students, faculty, and staff on developing strategies for acting on the most critical challenges of our time.”

While the college would still work with the arts and sciences, there is to be an increased focus on integrative work and learning. The Bennington model would create an action oriented curriculum that focuses on developing abilities in areas such as rhetoric, design, mediation, improvisation, quantitative reasoning, and technology as core abilities central to addressing complex social problems.

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