Liberal arts education has long been regarded as part of the bedrock of American higher education. It provides individuals with the mental skills to develop multiple frameworks for critically evaluating thoughts and ideas and helps to develop a clear path to evidence-based communication and ethical decision-making. Given the value of these teachings, and the discipline that can be derived from them, we feel it is important work to support, help and indeed encourage the evolution of liberal arts education in our colleges and universities.
As a foundation, we are focused on how we can best champion the liberal arts while being attentive to the challenges facing American higher education. Over the past two decades, our initiatives have spanned key issues: on how to prepare students so they can fully participate in all a liberal arts education offers; on what we know about how people learn and how that knowledge can shape our efforts to improve undergraduate education; on how graduate students should be trained for teaching careers; on how judicious use of technology enriches even the residential liberal arts experience; and on how to redesign curriculum that is more intellectually cohesive for students and financially sustainable for institutions. Our initiatives have been focused on the roles that college leaders and faculty must play if American higher education is to operate at the level of excellence for which it has long been known, and to serve as a democratic source of opportunity for the students it serves.
We invest our resources in ways that strengthen teaching and learning in the arts and sciences while leveraging opportunities to share resources and contain costs. Our strength as a foundation – and our opportunity to demonstrate leadership – is that we can take the long view in “seeding” sustainable change. Our grantees bring energy and creativity to tackling some of the most critical issues in the effective communication and delivery of a true and robust liberal arts education today. They in turn demonstrate leadership by disseminating the lessons they have learned and modeling reform for the broader higher education community.
As Chairman of the Board of Directors, I take great pride in The Teagle Foundation’s rich history of supporting liberal arts education. We have built a significant knowledge base in partnership with our grantees on strengthening teaching and learning in the arts and sciences. We continue to build on that base to support innovation that enriches learning in a sustainable manner. We remain optimistic about the future of the liberal arts and look forward to continuing to support students’ learning and development through improvements in the evolving environment of institutions focused on offering a liberal arts education.
--Walter C. Teagle III