USNA considered Liberal Arts College?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by petermcd123, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. petermcd123

    petermcd123 5-Year Member

    Jan 27, 2009
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  2. cpdibari

    cpdibari 5-Year Member

    Jan 10, 2011
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    i would assume because it only grants Bachelor's degrees, as in it is not a "University"
  3. 1964BGO

    1964BGO 5-Year Member

    Nov 27, 2009
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    For the past couple of years USNA has been ranked among the leading Liberal Arts programs in the US. Given that NAVY has been an engineering school and still is heavily invested in math, science, and engineering as attested by our Bachelor of Science degrees, there was a modicum of surprise when USNA (and USMA) suddenly appeared near the top of the Liberal Arts list. In retrospect, it does make sense as the cream does tend to rise (get out your physics text for the explanation). Seriously, our non-technical majors subscribe to the same high standards as our technical/engineering majors.
  4. PositiveThinking

    PositiveThinking 5-Year Member

    Apr 15, 2009
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    USNA's explanation on their Facebook page:
    "Some questions have been posed as to why USNA is categorized as a “liberal arts college.” U.S. News & World Report’s college and university methodology is that a “liberal arts college” is defined by them to be “schools that place an emphasis on undergraduate education and award at least 50 percent of their degrees in the liberal arts.” As part of their categorization, USN&WR considers mathematics and science degrees to be in the “liberal arts.” Likewise, USN&WR characterizes “universities” as “research-oriented institutions that offer degrees of all levels.” As a result, since USNA offers only undergraduate degrees and a significant number of degrees granted annually are mathematics and science majors, USNA is categorized, for the purposes of USN&WR’s rankings, as a 'liberal arts college.'"
  5. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom 10-Year Member

    Jul 9, 2006
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    If you look at the definition of a Liberal Arts College, then both USNA and USMA meet that definition -
    The question many folks have is what constitutes "Liberal Arts". Liberal Arts is not just English. Liberal Arts (also known as "Liberal Arts and Sciences) includes English but also Chemistry, Bioloby, Physics, Mathematics, Economics, English, History.
    Traditionally students who went to Liberal Arts colleges took a wide variety of courses in all these subjects.

    The term Liberal Arts is does not equate to a politically left wing curriculum. Rather it goes back centuries to define the education worthy of a free person.

    Majors such as Engineering, Management and Business are actually professional majors, as opposed to Liberal Arts.
    While both USNA and USMA have an engineering component required of their curriculum the majority of the student body does not major in these subjects. Rather they embrace a well rounded "Liberal Arts" curriculum.

    USAFA, on the other hand, is not considered a Liberal Arts College. I believe this is because a majority of their students major in Engineering or Management - which are "Professional" programs. In this sense, "Professional" means a program that trains one for a specific job or profession.

    Incidentally, until 4-5 years ago USNews put USNA and USMA into the category of Engineering schools. They only competed there but I guess they looked and the majors they offer now and how many students are in a liberal arts major and moved them appropriately.
  6. luckymacy

    luckymacy 5-Year Member

    Nov 10, 2010
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    On the other hand, USNA still kept their #5 ranking for

    Best Colleges Specialty Rankings: Undergraduate Engineering Specialties: Aerospace / Aeronautical / Astronautical

    1 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach, FL
    2 United States Air Force Academy USAF Academy, CO
    3 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University--Prescott Prescott, AZ
    4 California Polytechnic State University--San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA
    5 United States Naval Academy Annapolis, MD
  7. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

    Jun 9, 2006
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    Allow a bit more on this rather esoteric discussion. First some terminology.

    The liberal arts were operational areas of study to facilitate a "liberal" education. And while one aspect of a liberal education was learning to be a gentleman and scholar, in fact, virtually all "professionals" were prior students of liberal educations (and liberal arts curricula). So juxtaposing liberal arts vs. "professional" programs of study is a miscarriage.

    The competitor of liberal learning and liberal arts is "general" education, a term we hear little of any more. But general learning is most often equated or symptomatic of vocational training. Most colleges and universities have matriculated toward more general education and away from liberal arts. Economics has become commerce&finance has become business admin has become accounting. Rhetoric has become speech has become communications has become journalism has become broadcasting. Bio has become pre-med has become genetics has become environmental science has become environmental engineering. English has become ...we get the pic. It's all about trying to marry love of learning and knowledge of the world and beyond with getting a job and paying the bills.

    In an irony that has nothing to do w/ these rankings but illustrates in an odd way that in fact, virtually all Mids, whatever their major, are "liberal" learners. First, they all take some liberal arts ...English, history, the calculus, chem, etc. On those there is no discussion. Liberal arts to the nth degree. But even the engineering, oceanography, etc. are in fact liberal arts as they provide an ability to understand the world they are going into, and have nothing to do with becoming engineers or oceanographers or economists or chemists. Even what some might deem "professional" courses are only that in very general ways.

    So, describing USNA as a liberal arts college would seem to be in most ways, a most appropriate description. An education to prepare scholarly gentlepersons who can think, adapt, understand their world mechanically, culturally, historically, politically.

    But what is totally erroneous in this day and age? Calling it an "engineering school." It is only that in the broadest sense since virtually few of even the engineering degree recipients go on to engineering-specific vocations in the USN or beyond. Strange but true.

    And today as in history of academe ...liberal arts were deemed to be the appropriate course of study for preparing leaders vs. laborers.

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