It’s the breadth that matters

I was taught by Nigel Tubbs (years ago) as part of my Education Studies degree.

Liberal arts degrees are appearing in the UK and arousing much interest. Protagonists claim that the wide-ranging education provides more rounded individuals who are better prepared for modern employment. Rebecca Attwood writes

Nigel Tubbs, professor of philosophical and educational thought at the University of Winchester, has encountered a few false impressions when promoting his university’s new degree in modern liberal arts.

One prospective student, confusing liberal arts with creative arts, thought that taking a liberal arts degree must mean that “you dance a lot”.

So, on open days and when visiting sixth forms, Tubbs tries to raise interest in the degree, which imparts general knowledge and develops intellectual skills rather than specialising in one subject. Good tactics, he has found, are asking prospective students if they have found that their own world view doesn’t fit neatly into any of the subjects they are studying; and asserting that degrees that focus on just one subject are “the new kids on the block”.

“We were here in 400BC,” he tells them.

Many of the students’ parents have told Tubbs they wish that they had had the chance to take such a wide-ranging programme, which spans disciplines from art and music to politics, mathematics and cosmology.