Dear friends and colleagues, fellow educators,
The European Consortium of Liberal Arts and Sciences (ECOLAS) has just published a Manifesto about the “Crisis of Bachelor Degree education in Europe and Liberal Arts”. At the heart of the Manifesto is this statement:
“European higher education finds itself at a critical crossroads…. We believe that Bachelor Degrees can be taught and designed efficiently and effectively where there is a will to do so. Therefore, we invite all those who value education as the engine of democracy and social well-being to join this effort. Now is the time to work together towards realizing the full potential of Europe’s future generations.”
This will become an even more urgent issue when our societies exit the pandemic and universities will decide how to proceed with the education of students who have missed face-to-face encounters for several semesters.
We believe that by incorporating pedagogy and attitudes based on the liberal arts into the education of traditional Bachelor programmes those young people who enter our universities would benefit significantly in terms of their capacity for life-long learning and for nurturing a sense of civic responsibility.
Please see the attached ECOLAS Manifesto and the latest Slovak-English volume of journal Kritika & Kontext where several educators discuss the status of higher education today, the legacy of the Bologna Declaration, the opportunity offered by Liberal Arts and what is at stake in Europe today.
Whether you are teaching at a Liberal Arts institution or overseeing the education of Bachelor students at a non-Liberal Arts programmes, we hope that you can participate in discussion about the future of undergraduate education in Europe. In the next few months, we are planning a series of discussions and please let us know whether you wish to participate in one of the online symposiums. (We also very much hope for an in-person gathering sometime this year!)
Please forward this email to those who would benefit from reading the debate about the fate of Bachelor Degrees in Europe and do not hesitate to contact us with questions, comments or suggestions. We welcome your response at firstname.lastname@example.org
Samuel Abrahám, Laurent Boetsch, Teun Dekker
ECOLAS Executive Board