Liberal education is transformative education. It transforms individuals with intellectual and creative potential into persons ready for lives of accomplishment and fulfillment. Through liberal learning, students develop their intellect, capacity for creativity, and self-direction. Liberal learning is based on principles of open and free inquiry, a devotion to excellence, and engagement with exciting and interesting fields of knowledge. Liberal learning aims to develop analytical thinking abilities, communication skills, quantitative reasoning and creativity. It is creativity—the capacity to create what did not exist before—that helps set us free and makes liberal education a liberating education.
Liberal learning frees us from the restraints of time and place, enabling us to grow, to change and to respond to the new, the unforeseen, the unexpected. To be liberally educated is to live imaginatively in worlds not our own and to examine values not of our making.
A liberal education tests our ability to investigate and understand the nature of an organism, the applications of a theorem, the behavior of a crowd, the principles of a political system, the meaning of a poem, the causes of an event, the consequences of an argument or the composition of a symphony.
Liberal education promotes diversity, skepticism and debate. It views the world as changing, not fixed. It asks not only what, but why. It insists that we make judgments rather than have opinions; that we treat ideas seriously, not casually; that we be committed instead of indifferent.
Above all, however, a liberal education enables us to be self-directed—to choose for ourselves what we want to be and what we want to create. Lawrence students use their education for many careers—law, public service, health professions, business, teaching, science creative writing, theatre, the social sciences and art. The liberal education that Lawrence provides is a solid foundation for all of these careers—and many more. We help you learn how to learn things you have not experienced before and create what is new, and these abilities will help you in anything you choose to do in life.