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Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: liberal arts

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July 21, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Liberal-arts consortium knits together 5 small colleges

This summer, three small Northwest liberal arts colleges are teaching a course together as part of a five-college collaboration that could eventually help the schools deliver education more efficiently and provide stronger class offerings to their students.

It’s a move that reflects a growing national trend  among colleges to pool talent and resources.

The schools — including the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma and  Whitman College in Walla Walla — established the consortium three years ago, and this summer will offer their first class, in local food systems.

The project is called the Northwest Five Consortium, and it also includes Lewis & Clark College and Reed College, both in Portland, and Willamette University in Salem, Ore.

The Whitman College campus in Walla Walla. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times 2009.

The Whitman College campus in Walla Walla. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times 2009.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: higher ed, liberal arts

February 3, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Innovative new B.C. university turns higher-ed on its head

In recent years, many educators have come to question the very stuff that makes up a large part of a modern-day education — the body of knowledge and facts that students learn and memorize, then regurgitate on tests and exams.

The argument runs something like this: What is the use of memorizing the dates of important historical events, or various mathematical equations or scientific laws, if you can look up all these bits of information by pulling out your cellphone and doing a web search?

That sort of thinking might lead you to Quest University Canada, a small liberal-arts university located halfway between Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.

Founded in 2002 and with a current enrollment of about 670 students, it’s the first private, nonprofit secular university in Canada, drawing about 10 percent of its student enrollment from the Seattle area.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Canada, higher ed, liberal arts

January 24, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Poll: Is it worthwhile to major in the liberal arts?

Liberal arts majors aren’t destined to a lifetime of low earnings, according to a new report from the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

Researchers looked at Census data and found that workers who studied the humanities or social sciences as undergraduates make about $2,000 more per year during their peak earning ages — defined as between 56 and 60 years old — than their peers who majored in professional or pre-professional fields.

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Comments | More in Poll, Your voices | Topics: higher ed, liberal arts

January 23, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Majoring in liberal arts does pay, eventually

In recent years, lawmakers and pundits alike have seized on the idea that majoring in the liberal arts is a sure route to a low-paying, dead-end job.

Michael Osbun / Op Art

Michael Osbun / Op Art

Everyone seems to have a story about a history major who’s now waiting tables or working as a barista. Major in STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — instead, experts advise, because the payoff is much greater.

But what if that’s not true over the long run?

A new report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems examined whether liberal arts majors really do fare poorly over the course of their careers. They found some stereotypes don’t hold up to scrutiny.

Using Census data, researchers looked at liberal arts majors both in the short term and long term and found:

  • When they are at peak earning ages — defined as between 56 and 60 years old — workers who majored in the humanities or social sciences as undergraduates earn about $2,000 more per year than those who majored as undergraduates in professional or pre-professional careers.
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Comments | More in News | Topics: higher ed, liberal arts