This may seem small but to people in higher ed it’s a big deal.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:

A College Considers Taking the ‘Liberal’ Out of ‘Liberal Education’

It’s found in the mission statements of scores of colleges and universities, preceding “education” or “arts.”

But the word “liberal” may be in the cross hairs at the University of Colorado. The university’s Board of Regents heard a proposal last week to remove “liberal” from the phrase “liberal education” in a portion of its governing law that characterize the university’s mission.

The university has described the suggested edit as standard cleanup, but the proposal has spurred worries of sending the wrong message in an era of angst over the health of the liberal arts and the word’s political connotations.

Debate about the word “liberal” and its role in academe is a familiar story for Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

“There is that prevailing national rhetoric that presumes that college and university campuses are bastions of liberalism,” Pasquerella said. “But when we go back to the historic meaning of liberal education in the sense of the stoics, who argued that we should liberate the mind from past dispositions, it becomes clearer.”

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