News on Liberal Arts in Europe, January ’19: What’s new?

News on Liberal Arts in Europe, January '19: What’s new?

2019 has arrived, bringing the joy of new beginnings on many fronts. We have prepared a short update about some of the current developments in the European liberal arts education scene.

This Tuesday, January 22nd, the National Interdisciplinary Conference took place in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The day was packed with presentations from both faculty and students as well as keynote speeches. The programme can be accessed here, and the next step is the international conference in Amsterdam this October.

Utrecht University is actually one of very few institutions hosting not one but two programs from the liberal arts education family - take a look at this joint interview of the respective educational directors to learn more about the differences in how they conceptualize interdisciplinarity. To learn more about the student perspective on the difference between studying at University College Utrecht (UCU) and at Utrecht University (UU) Liberal Arts & Sciences, continue through this link.

Meanwhile in Poland, students from the older version of liberal arts education (MISH, but we won’t get all acronyms and specifics for now) have taken networking and impact seriously. Although MISH-like programmes are offered now in eight universities across the country, the collaboration between institutions is rather limited, and there was but one forum (2013) attended by aspiring liberal artisans, aka MISH students.

That might change soon as heads of students unions from each programme convened in Cracow last December. The impulse came from the current wave of higher education reform in Poland that, according to the students, paid little attention to the additionally selective admission, higher costs of running, and more difficult classification of the student path that are all required by a liberal arts programme. Soon after the conference, students from Warsaw MISH upped their game even further and published an article in the national newspaper asking the ministry to ensure MISH survives the reform.

After a day of debates they issued a joint statement. For those who do not speak Polish or have no Facebook access, the statement promotes among other things that MISH students would seek to collaborate more with their counterparts in Europe.

In a historic moment, Teun Dekker is set to be officially inaugurated as Appointed professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Maastricht University on January 31st. The history is made because, to the best of our knowledge, Dekker is the first person carrying such a fancy title in contemporary European universities; and to make things even better, he was a member of the very first cohort of students admitted to University College Utrecht in 1998.

Those in the area are warmly welcome to join (see event details), while all that cannot make it at this time might want to know that the lecture ‘The seven democratic virtues of liberal education’ is going to be recorded and available at a later date.

Our list of conferences relevant for higher education has been updated with new events and updated dates; take a look here. Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning Conference in Keele (UK) would extend its deadline by February 15th; Liberal Education Student Symposium has been announced in Tilburg; deadline February 20th. Last but not least, this year’s Liberal Education Student Conference in Berlin would feature a track focussed on education, which would welcome papers addressing liberal arts education in even more depth; deadline February 3rd.

Do you have anything to add? Let us know in the comments or email info [at]

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *