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Breadth

The first two pillars in our Liberal Education model, breadth and integration, trace back to the Education model of the Romans. The Romans developed seven subjects, known for centuries as the original seven Liberal Arts, namely arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music (the quadrivium) and grammar, rhetoric and logic (the trivium). Note the inter-disciplinarity here, with both science (math, physics, logic), arts (music, rhetoric) and the humanities (language, philosophy, logic) - the whole range of the academy! The ancients saw these as all combined and intertwined; for example they connected music to ratios of numbers, and to the motion of planets in space.

At the U of L, our Breadth pillar is implemented by the Lib Ed List Requirements. We require every student to take at least four courses from each of three broad lists of courses: Science, Social Sciences, and Fine Arts & Humanities Lists. This breadth of knowledge across disciplines is increasingly important in our complex world, as problems we need to solve require multi-dimensional approaches.
 
Another aspect of breadth and integration that is increasingly important, at all levels of studies, is the idea of multiple viewpoints for looking at the world. Rather than simply learning a standard canon of knowledge, a more modern multi-cultural approach reminds us that although our education system is based on a classical Western tradition, it is important now to unpack and challenge that tradition, to bring in other voices and approaches and worldview, as part of expanding our knowledge and its uses. This means not only welcoming a diverse group of scholars into the conversation, but also making the search for knowledge, the kinds of questions we ask and the kinds of answers we can consider, inclusive and accessible and broad.

 

Definition

Breadth: to explore and study multiple disciplines; to have a wide base of knowledge in many distinct academic areas. 

Through the first pillar of liberal education students are exposed to new ways of looking at and studying the world beyond their own disciplinary boundaries. The opportunity to broaden their knowledge base is given through the lib ed requirement list. This also allows for other passions to be explored and studied or for new passions to emerge. In the long run, having a breadth of education will strenghten the skills of students and allow them to be more versatile and understanding. 

 

Breadth Articles 

Below are articles that specifically tie into the breadth pillar. There is a variety of content, opinions, and positions throughout these articles. This is a good place to start looking through resources for the essay that needs to be written as well as a place for the curious eye to wander and catch an interesting article to read. 

Breadth Skills and Competencies 

  • Knowledge across a range of disciplines
  • Understanding the creation and uses of knowledge in multiple areas
  • Adaptability
  • Information literacy
  • Visual literacy
  • Quantitative literacy
  • Statistical literacy