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Abstract

This case study details an investigation to gain greater insight about the intellectual distinctions that prevail within the academic environment at Crestline College, a pseudonym for an eastern institution of higher learning, in support of the significance of a liberal arts education. While many graduates of Crestline report satisfaction with their academic experience, many alumni volunteers have felt more work could be done to explain the exact nature of what makes Crestline strong academically, articulating the practical value of a liberal arts education. Developing a compelling argument for a strong vision for academics would help reinforce the value and importance of a liberal arts education, given the challenges facing the liberal arts amidst a changing economy and national disinvestment in humanities and related areas. The case study found that alumni and current students felt Crestline was distinguished because of a committed faculty, its intimate learning setting, its engaged student body, and the emphasis of critical thinking across the curriculum. Based on these findings, the study provides a set of recommendations for Crestline and other liberal arts institutions to consider as they continue to engage with their alumni in today’s integrated, globalized society, with questions persisting about the future of liberal arts education and its value to society. Further study is recommended to gain greater insight on preparation for careers and how people are applying their education within career tracks.

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