Leadership, the liberal arts, and the early years
Written by Christy Richardson on May 25, 2012
We recently came across a great article, Liberal Arts and Leadership, in the journal Inside Higher Ed. The piece, a thoughtful reflection of the value of the liberal arts during times of economic uncertainty, reported on a recent survey of top leaders in business, nonprofit, and government sectors of the economy. The survey found a disproportionate number of leaders who graduated from liberal arts colleges — in fact, a liberal arts education is represented in top leadership positions a remarkable than would be expected based on the number of total liberal arts graduates in the general population. Says the article:
These findings suggest that a liberal arts education may be a significant contributor to the career success of leaders in the business, government and nonprofit sectors. Today, perhaps more than ever, our nation’s leaders need to be able to strategically think and plan, deftly interpret changing global conditions, effectively marshal expansive resources and collaboratively guide teams of diverse people. Students at liberal arts colleges are challenged and supported to cultivate these skills throughout their coursework and co-curricular activities and then apply them during undergraduate research projects, volunteer experiences, and internships.
Pine Cobble, is, of course, fundamentally different from any college — we serve students at much younger ages. Still, a current parent observed that Pine Cobble School offers to younger children the same thing that a liberal arts education offers to young adults — but without making them wait until they are 18 years old.
Here, students internalize, from the youngest ages, the skills and habits of mind that lead to an informed and thoughtful approach to their lives – personally, socially, and academically — and someday, professionally. They gain an ability to think critically and solve problems when there’s no clear road map. They learn what it is to be curious, to reflect thoughtfully, and to carve a meaningful path in their world. These traits are, of course, the very things that allow an individual to lead.
Pine Cobble is based on the philosophy that people shouldn’t have to wait until they’re 18 years old to discover how deeply enriching education, and life itself, can be.