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Notre Dame selected for national study on liberal arts education

Author: Arts and Letters


The University of Notre Dame has been selected as one of 18 colleges and universities across the country to participate in a four-year national study of liberal arts education.

Led by the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, the multi-million dollar study will determine how undergraduate students develop in seven liberal arts areas: leadership, reasoning and problem-solving, well-being, moral character, integration of learning, intercultural effectiveness, and lifelong learning.

Notre Dame also was selected as part of a sub-group for more intensive study using student interviews because of what the researchers describe as Notre Dame’s “high potential environment: intentional curricular and co-curricular structures and programs that appeared to foster self-authorship and be aligned with the liberal arts outcomes.”

Beginning this fall and continuing for four years, 400 Notre Dame students will complete a series of surveys to explore how they develop during their college years and how that development is influenced by factors such as participation in faculty research, community-based learning, and international studies.

The research team will conduct interviews with 50 of the 400 students at intervals throughout the four years, and campus programs and resources also will be studied to determine the degree to which they enhance student development.

“This is an exciting project to systematically follow a cohort of students through their four years at Notre Dame and learn what meaning and impact they assign to theirexperiences along the way,” said Dennis Jacobs, vice president and associate provost for undergraduate and international studies.

Upon completion of the study in 2010, Notre Dame will receive data indicating how its students achieve these learning outcomes and what factors contribute to learning,both at Notre Dame and at other institutions participating in the study.

Originally published by Susan Guibert &Barbara Walvoord at on March 24, 2006.