Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
Brock University was founded on an idea, on the conviction that a university must educate, and not simply train, its students; that it must nurture students who possess something that will qualify them not only for a profession or vocation but also for living in society, something that will never be threatened by obsolescence – a mature and independent mind. Thus the objective was to encourage the habit of critical thinking, and to promote independent inquiry.
(Brock University Senate Committee Report, 1967)
The Humanities – literature, language, philosophy, history, drama, music, art – traditionally have been regarded as foundational in any great university.
They are also foundational in the eyes of employers.
A 2013 national survey of business and non-profit employers conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities shows:
•Nearly all those surveyed (93 percent) say that “a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than [a candidate’s] undergraduate major.”
•More than 9 in 10 of those surveyed say it is important that those they hire demonstrate ethical judgment and integrity; intercultural skills; and the capacity for continued new learning.
But there is more. In studying the Humanities you are not just acquiring transferable career skills that will open doors; you are also steeping yourself in subjects that open minds, that give you the opportunity to imagine, to express, to create, to reason, to go out of yourself and into something that’s bigger or older or different than you are – and as a result you grow in mind and spirit and character.
What do the Humanities give you? In a word, liberation. That’s what the “liberal arts,” or a “liberal education” literally means; it means a liberated education. And liberation comes when you acquire certain qualities: an ability to use language (more than one, for our global community), a storehouse of great books and ideas in mind, an appreciation of the arts, an understanding of intellectual and cultural difference, a sense of history, achievement of personal insight, the power of critique: these are the qualities that students of the Humanities are able to leave Brock with, along with more than 78,000 other alumni who have gone on to successful careers in government, industry, business, fine and performing arts, law, entrepreneurship, education, and many other vocations.
From its origins almost fifty years ago, Brock University has offered a distinctive education in a unique setting. As the only university in the beautiful and sublime Niagara peninsula, we are in a favoured location, about an hour from the GTA and on the doorstep of the US. We are right-sized as an educational institution – 18,000 students – which means that you’re not just a number and you have opportunities that you just can’t get at massive schools. Our professors are innovative in the classroom, the studio, the archive, on the stage, and online. Our many student initiatives, including the Humanities Students’ Association, foster a supportive and inclusive environment. Together we create a learning community like no other.
The 1967 Brock Senate report sets out the goal that “a university education should nurture men and women who are