Strategy B

Develop and Reinforce the Meaning/Relevance/Power of the Liberal Arts

As a university, Bemidji State recognizes the importance of acknowledging (to the community) and teaching (to our students) fundamental relevance of the liberal arts.

Goals & Initiatives
1. Infuse the AAC&U’s essential learning outcomes and high impact practices in:
A. Bemidji State University’s general education program (Liberal Education)

  • Develop a distinctive general education program at Bemidji State University that incorporates essential learning outcomes and high impact practices.


  • Ask the Liberal Education Committee to identify a model by February 28, 2014.
  • Share the model with the broader university by March 1, 2014 with feedback by March 15, 2014.
  • Implement a new general education program by Fall 2015.
  • Bring information from the AAC&U Integrative Liberal Learning and the Global Commons initiative to be considered as part of the dialogue on creating a distinctive Liberal Education program.

B. University curricula – emphasis on liberal arts and “intellectual fitness” (Malesic 2013)


  • Establish additional requirements that support the Master Academic Plan and the values associated with it.
  • Explore the integration of upper division liberal arts courses from disciplines outside the major in all programs of study. Flexibility and balance in thinking is essential and can be enhanced by encouraging students to obtain additional depth from upper division arts and sciences courses in which they are required to evaluate and analyze from a different core viewpoint than their major provides (Malesic 2013).
  • Clarify the dimensions of the signature themes (international/multicultural understanding, civic engagement, and environmental stewardship) and their connection to the liberal arts. Research by Hart Research Associates in It Takes More than a Major, citing findings from a 2013 survey of employers, demonstrates that employers are seeking employees who have broad knowledge in the arts and sciences. More significantly for the enhancement of our signature themes, the results of this survey state that 80% of those surveyed want employees to have broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences; 78% state that employees need to have extensive knowledge of global issues and knowledge about societies and cultures outside the U.S.; and 82% indicate that it is essential that employees have strong civic knowledge, skills and judgment essential for contributing to the community and to our democratic society. In A Crucible Moment, the AAC&U highlight the national call for enhancing our students understanding of civic engagement in order to enliven the skills of citizenry for our organizations, associations, and the common good of civic life.
  • Require a non-English (natural or programming) language requirement that can be met in a variety of ways such as, proficiency in a non-English language acquired in high school, successful completion of study of a year or more of a non-English language.
  • Create a freshman seminar and a senior seminar (capstone) that infuse “problem solving” models to promote integrative and interdisciplinary thinking as part of the university graduation requirements. Models of “problem-centered learning” are part of the AAC&U (American Association of Colleges and Universities) Project Kaleidoscope initiative which is encouraging student research and inquiry that examines the large questions or “grand challenges” that are explored in the arts and sciences.


  • Form a faculty group to identify models for implementation
2. Provide Faculty and Staff Enrichment Opportunities Focused on Enhancing Pedagogy.


  • High impact practices in teaching
  • Perspectives on worldviews: social, cognitive, and meta-cognitive
  • Collaborative teaching
  • Course design and assessment
  • Problem solving, integrative and interdisciplinary thinking
  • Working with diverse populations