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Why Liberal Learning?

The Foundation of your Education

Liberal Learning is the name TCNJ gives to its general education program, the part of the TCNJ education shared by all undergraduate students. Liberal Learning will provide you with the skills, knowledge, and experiences that will ensure you are successful during and after college, in your professional and personal life. Liberal Learning will deepen your understanding of the world around you and of yourself as a human being. It will open your eyes to other worlds and other perspectives.

For Your Major

Liberal Learning will develop your ability to think deeply and critically, communicate effectively, analyze arguments, and find reliable sources of information, all skills that are essential to success in your major. Liberal Learning will also expose you to a wide variety of disciplines, and through this process of discovery, may even lead you to a major you had not considered before. Liberal Learning is actually integrated with your major, as some of your major courses also satisfy Liberal Learning requirements.

For Your Career

Extensive surveys of employers (American Association of Colleges and Universities 2013 and 2021) show that the skills you will acquire through Liberal Learning are essential to success in a career.

  • “At least half of employers view the skills of a liberal education as ‘very important’ for college graduates” (2021)
  • “At least half of employers think it is ‘very important’ for college graduates to possess a range of mindsets and aptitudes to be successful.” (2021)
  • 96% want employees who are comfortable working with colleagues and customers/clients from different cultural backgrounds. (2013)
  • 93% of employers say that the ability to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than the job candidate’s specific major. (2013)
  • 80% agree that every college student should acquire broad knowledge in Liberal Learning, regardless of his or her major. (2013)
  • 55% want job candidates with knowledge and skills that apply to both a range of fields or positions (= Liberal Learning) and a specific field (= major). Only 16% want candidates with knowledge that applies only to a specific field or position. (2013)

Engaged Citizen

Our society, indeed the world, faces many serious issues including environmental degradation, public health, violence, income inequality, the economy, and war, just to name a few. These problems are complex and multifaceted and cannot be solved from just a single perspective. As the generation who will confront and solve these problems, you will need to understand the relevant scientific information, the moral and ethical dimensions, the political and global implications, and the historical origins of these issues and their solutions. For some issues, you will be directly involved in creating the solutions, and for the remainder, you will participate through elected representatives. In both cases, you will need the breadth of knowledge that you gain from Liberal Learning to analyze these issues from all angles and understand the consequences of various possible solutions.

As an engaged citizen, you will help sustain and advance the community in which you live. Liberal Learning will provide you with the knowledge, skills, and experiences to promote positive change in your community. In your first year at TCNJ, you will already make an impact on the communities surrounding the College through your participation in a Liberal Learning Community Engagement experience.

Life-Long Learning

The world is changing rapidly, with new knowledge and technologies being produced each year. There will be new modes of transportation, ways to communicate, health treatments, and ways of thinking about the world. You will undoubtedly change your job several times in your lifetime. To adapt to these changes, you will have to continue learning long after you have completed college. Liberal Learning will equip you to find relevant and reliable information that you will need to adapt to this constant change.

Personal Fulfillment

What does it mean to be a human? What is our place in the universe? Who am I? What should I value? The answers to these and other “big questions” are at the heart of Liberal Learning. Liberal Learning courses will help you probe deeper into the human experience, allowing you to enrich your life during and beyond college.