Liberal Arts in Asia

400x400Liberal Arts Experiments in Asia: Redefining Education, Economy, and Citizenship in the Twenty-First Century

With Jane M. Jacobs (PI), funded by the Yale-NUS Internal Grant

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The revival of liberal arts education in Asia, whether through new establishments or curricular restructuring, is set against a global context of increasing recognition that university graduate citizens require critical thinking and more broad-based, flexible competencies in the twenty-first century knowledge economy (Altbach, 2015). Contemporary liberal arts initiatives in Asia commensurate in part with national priorities to move away from educating technical-scientific know-how towards an emphasis on fostering creativity, innovation, and independent learning (Gopinathan, cited in Olds, 2007) – new elements for a new knowledge economy. Recent liberal arts ventures manifest in a range of higher educational reforms, programs, and partnerships – often in prominent Asian cities – are diverse; yet they also share similar strategies such as those around ‘internationalization’ as well as faced challenges related to the seeding of liberal arts education ideals in Asian societies (Jung, Nishimura and Sasao, 2016). Given that attention on liberal arts education in Asia is growing, research is needed urgently to understand what these educational experiments are doing to cities, urban economies, and the people in these spaces.

Drawing on three case studies in the cities of Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore, project examines the rise of liberal arts higher education institutions and curricula in Asia, and inquires specifically into whether such initiatives are shaping novel models of citizenship among young adult students.


Check out some preliminary thoughts: