The term liberal education
has its origins in the medieval
concept of the liberal arts
but now is primarily associated with the liberalism
of the Age of Enlightenment
Liberal education is termed "a philosophy of education that empowers individuals with broad knowledge and transferable skills, and a stronger sense of values, ethics, and civic engagement ... characterized by challenging encounters with important issues, and more a way of studying than a specific course or field of study" by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU).
Usually global and pluralistic in scope, it includes a general education curriculum which provides broad exposure to multiple disciplines and learning strategies in addition to in-depth study in at least one academic area.
- Andrew Chrucky: "The aim of liberal education is to create persons who have the ability and the disposition to try to reach agreements on matters of fact, theory, and actions through rational discussions."
- Donald Knuth: "I don't know where I heard it first, but a liberal education is supposed to teach you something about everything and everything about something."
- Everett Dean Martin, The Meaning of a Liberal Education, Norton, 1926