11 Goals: The Liberal Arts and Sciences in the College

At IU, the College of Arts and Sciences provides the means for undergraduates to acquire a liberal arts education: an education that broadens the student's knowledge and awareness in the major areas of human knowledge, significantly deepens that awareness in one or two fields, and prepares the foundation for a lifetime of continual learning. The distinguishing mark of the university is that its faculty is engaged in the discovery and dissemination of knowledge, thereby offering students an unusually rich opportunity to gain a liberal education. At Indiana University, the liberal arts curriculum of the College of Arts and Sciences directs its students to achieve eleven major goals. Our students:

  1. Achieve the genuine literacy required to read and listen effectively, and to speak and write clearly and persuasively.
  2. Learn to think critically and creatively. As perceptive analysts of what they read, see, and hear, students must learn to reason carefully and correctly and to recognize the legitimacy of intuition when reason and evidence prove insufficient.
  3. Develop intellectual flexibility and breadth of mind. Liberal arts students remain open to new ideas and information, willing to grow and learn, and sensitive to others' views and feelings.
  4. Discover ethical perspectives so that they can formulate and understand their own values, become aware of others' values, and discern the ethical dimensions underlying many of the decisions they must make.
  5. Cultivate a critically informed appreciation of literature and the arts and forge the aesthetic judgment that makes possible the enjoyment and comprehension of works of the creative imagination.
  6. Practice and apply scientific methods. This approach to knowledge forms the basis of scientific research; guides the formation, testing, and validation of theories; and distinguishes conclusions that rest on unverified assertion from those developed through the application of scientific reasoning.
  7. Learn to reason quantitatively, a skill essential in an increasingly technological society.
  8. Develop historical consciousness so that students can view the present within the context of the past, appreciate tradition, and understand the critical historical forces that have influenced the way we think, feel, and act.
  9. Investigate and study the international community to become involved in the contemporary world. By understanding the range of physical, geographic, economic, political, religious, and cultural realities influencing world events, students cultivate an informed sensitivity to global and environmental issues.
  10. Develop and practice communication skills in public settings and in the study of at least one foreign language. Public speaking and listening are fundamental skills for participation in civil society. Study of a foreign language not only promotes communication with people from other cultures but also offers insights into distinct patterns of thought and modes of expression. 
  11. Pursue in-depth knowledge of at least one subject to be complete. Students in the College of Arts and Sciences must learn to acquire and manage a coherent, sophisticated understanding of a major body of knowledge with all its complexities, power, and limitations.