If you’ve attended an event at Drew in recent years, you may have heard me borrowing from the Romantic poet William Wordsworth: “What we have loved, others will love, and we will teach them how.” While Wordsworth was speaking of living in nature, I have re-purposed his verse to describe our shared affection for this University and our high regard for teaching and learning in the liberal arts tradition.
The liberal arts are not the opposite of conservatism. Rather, it is an educational philosophy rooted in Cicero that defines the education which every citizen requires in order to be a contributing member of a democratic society.
I have been insistent on these points because the kind of transformative education that Drew provides can be overlooked for a more narrowly vocational education, which to my mind is no real education at all. Even by the most pragmatic standards, a Drew education is the best preparation for a career as it is for life in general.
Now a new report validates exactly what you and I have known all along.
As reported in College News, “When it comes to getting a first job out of college, gaining admission to graduate school, or generally preparing to meet life’s challenges, graduates of residential liberal arts colleges give their college experience higher marks than do graduates of private or public universities, according to a new national study commissioned by the Annapolis Group.” [Read more.]
In other words, there is no substitute for the close mentoring of students by faculty members at smaller universities where each student is viewed and treated as unique and highly valuable. And in the most recent National Student Engagement Study, Drew excels even among its peers in terms of a rigorous, individualized, and meaningful college education. Here at Drew we provide a liberal arts education that prepares you for a career, for responsible citizenship, and for the myriad experiences of life. Such programs as the UN Semester, the Wall Street Semester, Civic Scholars, and Drew International Semesters all provide that real-world experience before our students graduate, taking the great traditions of the liberal arts into actual experiences. It is full-impact education.
It is absolutely fortuitous that this report coincides with the implementation of the recently crafted strategic plan for the university, one that reaffirms Drew’s long-standing commitment to the liberal arts. Beyond the efforts to enhance the student experience and further ground a Drew education in the world is a plan to polish our story and to make sure that everyone else knows about this gem called Drew. Who better to help tell that story than you? Join me as we work to get Drew the attention it deserves. “What we have loved, others will love, and we will teach them how.”