Liberal arts, career-oriented majors not mutually exclusive

It is unfortunate that in a recent letter (Herald, April 6) voicing support for the liberal arts, Debbie Meyers choose to attack respected academic disciplines like accounting, education, engineering, graphic design and others. These fields provide valuable services to society and rewarding careers for Fort Lewis College graduates.

I also believe this criticism reflects a lack of understanding of the complexity of these fields of study. In accounting, which is what I teach, we encourage our students to double major in accounting and another field to obtain a broad, well-rounded education. We see no conflict between the liberal arts and accounting. I often work with students who are majoring in art or music. I think my accounting class pleasantly surprises almost all of them. Accounting isnít about making money, but is instead about using an analytical lens to see and understand certain aspects of our society and how its organizations function. Itís not really that different from the traditional liberal arts.

The liberal arts add richness to all of our lives and provide valuable perspective on how to interpret society and our place in it. However, there is no question that the faculty in every major at FLC changes lives through a compelling educational experience and extraordinary personal attention. Where is the harm if in that process, we also help students launch successful careers?

To inform prospective students about all the majors at FLC is not an attack on the liberal arts. Nor is it inconsistent with the collegeís mission to provide useful practical degree programs. For example, the mission and learning goals of the School of Business Administration are completely consistent with the mission and learning outcomes of the college.

I love the liberal arts and value their contribution to our society, but I wonder if the proponents of the liberal arts value anything but liberal arts. I would hope that advocates of the liberal arts would recognize that working with other academic disciplines to foster a climate of mutual respect and cooperation would make the college stronger and better serve our students and our society.

Rick Gore