Planning Your Education

Aims and Objectives of Liberal Learning

A liberal education requires breadth, depth, and integration in learning. It also requires the cultivation of those habits of intellectual and moral self-discipline that distinguish a mature individual.

To these ends, St. Lawrence seeks to provide an education that fosters in students an open, inquiring and disciplined mind, well informed through broad exposure to basic areas of knowledge; an enthusiasm for life-long learning; self-confidence and self-knowledge; a respect for differing opinions and for free discussion of those opinions; and an ability to use information logically and to evaluate alternative points of view.

A liberal education frees students from the confines of limited personal experiences and knowledge of the physical, historical, social and cultural world. In return, this liberation gives an enlightened understanding of that which is singular, immediate and limited. Thus, a liberal education is always relevant to the world in which students must live at the same time that it attempts to maintain a certain detachment from that world.

A liberal education provides students with many options in the choice of their life’s work. Since the very nature of liberal education lies in the continuing exercise of a critical and informed intellect, liberally educated persons demonstrate ability in the pursuit of specific occupations and understand and assume the responsibilities of citizenship.

These attributes, however, are the consequences, not the purposes, of a liberal education. Since the primary commitment of the University is to the intellectual development of the student, it encourages styles of learning which promote creativity, intellectual resourcefulness and flexibility. In particular, the University recognizes the need to be responsive to new dimensions of knowledge, to promising new techniques of learning, and to the development of individual talents. Hence, St. Lawrence has established curricular objectives that include:

  • A depth of understanding in at least one field of study;
  • The ability to read, write, speak, and listen well;
  • The ability to conduct research and to think critically;
  • An understanding of diverse cultures;
  • An understanding of scientific principles and methods;
  • An understanding of the natural environment;
  • An expansion of aesthetic sensibilities and capacities; and
  • A personal ethic of considered values.

The University’s long tradition of preparing its students for various professions and its deep respect for excellence in teaching and learning at all levels further commit it to a graduate program in education.

The University is also committed to the goal of fostering excellent teaching in its faculty and to assisting its members to realize their full potential as teachers. Effective teaching cannot be divorced from professional competence in the subject matter taught. Active scholarship is strongly encouraged, and the University commits itself to supporting this scholarship through the provision of time and resources.

A primary commitment to the students’ intellectual development is complemented by a recognition of students as whole persons living in a culturally diverse world. For this reason, the University also provides an environment that encourages physical well-being; provides opportunities for moral, social, religious and aesthetic growth; and encourages an expanding sense of responsibility for and service to humanity.

Go to General Education and Graduation Requirements