Tokyo, Nike And Katy Perry Changed Their Names; Is It Liberal Arts' Turn, Too?

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Published by Forbes

...The new term "universal" would be free of any unintended political implications. Instead, it's wonderfully inclusive and all-encompassing. It suggests power and unbounded utility, too. The term "degree" is a bit blander, but it does remind people that colleges issue hard-won credentials that -- presumably -- turn out to be useful in graduates' subsequent lives.

Craig Goebel, a principal in the Baltimore education-consulting firm of Art & Science LLC, isn't quite ready to embrace the Universal Degree name. He's been encouraging his firm's college clients to talk up the unique benefits of their specific programs, rather than rely on the term "liberal arts" to convey what they do best.

Still, Goebel concurs that the term "liberal arts" isn't generating the goodwill that it used to. In a recent survey of high-school seniors who had just completed the ACT entrance exam for college, his firm asked students what they thought of specific educational elements such as critical thinking, lifelong learning and lots of student-professor interaction. All of those items attracted strongly positive responses.

When Art & Science tethered those same terms to the concept of a "liberal arts college," the students' responses remained positive, but sagged a bit.

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