18 février 2013

Liberal Arts Go Dutch

HomeBy Elizabeth Redden. The traditionally American liberal arts model continues to gain popularity around the globe, but perhaps nowhere has it become so well-established so quickly as in the Netherlands. After Utrecht University founded the first liberal arts-oriented “University College” in 1998, several other Dutch research universities, including the Universities of Amsterdam, Leiden, and Maastricht, followed suit. At least two more university colleges, at the University of Twente and Erasmus University Rotterdam, are scheduled to open this September. The colleges – which, unlike most U.S. liberal arts colleges are not private and free-standing but instead are appendages to large public research universities -- enroll only a small fraction of the country’s students. However, experts say that they have had an outsized impact on Dutch higher education policies and practices, inspiring the growing movement toward selective admissions and the development of “excellence” programs within a famously egalitarian higher education system, and leading the transition from monodisciplinary to broad-based bachelor programs. Read more...

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