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2013 National Symposium


Reinventing Liberal Education

Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23, 2013
Miami, Florida

The deadline for proposal submission is Friday, April 5, 2013.

Conference Topic

How should we rethink and reshape liberal education for the 21st century? How can we maintain our commitment to the goals of liberal learning during a time of urgent economic and social pressures? How can we ensure that our colleges are providing the type of liberal education that empowers new graduates to become engaged participants in a complex global society?

The emerging challenges of the 21st century— such as climate change and cross-cultural cooperation—will require creative and flexible thinking that involves the integration of multiple skills and perspectives. Undergraduate liberal education has traditionally developed students’ capacities of open-minded inquiry and critical thinking, while expanding their intellectual horizons through guided engagement with the arts, literature, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences.

In recent years, however, some critics have chastised liberal education as being an ivory-tower indulgence that is losing its relevance in an increasingly competitive global economy. The recent economic crisis, coupled with pessimistic employment prospects for many college graduates, has generated pressure on colleges to increase their focus on vocational training. The rising costs of college tuition during a time of economic hardship have prompted more students and parents to scrutinize the monetary value of a college degree.

As a counterpoint, prominent authors such as Martha Nussbaum (Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities), Andrew Delbanco (College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be), and Louis Menand (The Marketplace of Idea: Reform and Resistance in the American University) have argued for the continued centrality and relevance of liberal education. In addition, the Association of American Colleges and Universities has recently rearticulated its commitment to liberal education through a new set of strategic goals.

These countervailing trends of criticism and support have placed the liberal arts at a critical juncture. This is an opportune time for faculty, administrators, and students at the member schools of the Faculty Resource Network to work together on reinventing liberal education. We invite you to share your insights and innovations by contributing to the program for the 2013 FRN National Symposium.

Breakout Presentation and Poster Topics

We invite proposals for breakout sessions and posters for the FRN National Symposium on Reinventing Liberal Education. Possible topics include:

  • Articulating and demonstrating the value of a liberal education.
  • New perspectives and strategies for liberal education in the 21st century.
  • Liberal education for a diverse and multicultural society.
  • Linking liberal learning to pre-professional education.
  • Using technologies to increase educational access and quality.
  • Globalizing liberal education.
  • Developing quantitative literacy as a core component of a liberal education.
  • Using assessment to improving liberal learning.

In addition, we welcome proposals on additional topics that will enhance our discussions of liberal education at the Symposium.

Guidelines For Submission of Proposals:


We request a one-page abstract (between 300 – 500 words) of the intended breakout session or poster presentation. The abstract should outline the content and structure of the session, together with its intellectual merit and educational value for the symposium participants. The abstract should include the names, institutional affiliations, and contact information for each presenter.

Please indicate clearly whether your proposal is for a breakout session or a poster presentation.

Breakout session:

Breakout sessions are scheduled for one hour. We encourage submissions by a group of 2 - 4 presenters, which emphasize collaboration and are organized around a common theme. Proposals submitted by individuals (if accepted) will be combined with other proposal topics within the breakout session.

Poster Presentation:

Poster presentations may be submitted by individuals or by groups of any size.

Proposal Submission:

The submission deadline for abstracts is Friday, April 5, 2013.

Please send your abstract and supporting documentation in one of the following ways:

  • An e-mail attachment to
  • A fax to 212.995.4101
  • A postal mailing to:
    Faculty Resource Network
    Attn: National Symposium 2013
    194 Mercer Street, 4th Floor
    New York, NY 10012

Abstracts must be submitted to the Faculty Resource Network by Friday, April 5, 2013. Presenters will be selected and notified in late June or early July.

Contact information:

Please direct inquiries to the Faculty Resource Network
( or 212-998-2090). For additional information about the Faculty Resource Network and our member institutions, please consult