campus partner(s)

Hampshire College

Berea College

Cornell College

Smith College

Warren Wilson College

and Worcester Polytechnic Institute






Fresh Thinking

award date


project director

Steven Weisler

Hampshire College

Grant Summary

$100,000 over 24 months. How should liberal education respond to shifting expectations about the nature of work, and what role should an undergraduate education play in preparing students for their eventual careers? Taking on a tradition that has kept liberal education distinct from career preparation, the collaborating institutions contend that liberal education provides students with strong preparation for their careers, and that specific practices and programs on their campuses help to forge a direct and persuasive connection between liberal arts and the world of work. Berea and Warren Wilson Colleges require their students to work; Smith College pays stipends to students who take on qualified, unpaid summer internships related to their academic and career interests; Cornell College has created a range of majors that embrace the liberal arts and professional training; Hampshire College offers programs in invention and entrepreneurship; and Worcester Polytechnic's Global Perspectives Program allows students to serve as consultants to local nonprofits, government agencies, or businesses. With these programs in place, the working group will:

  • Produce a White Paper that surveys and explains these practices;

  • Conduct an assessment of efforts at each campus to determine how the integration of work preparation and liberal education shapes student learning, with the aim of developing an assessment protocol that clarifies the liberal learning outcomes appropriate to work preparation and allows the group to bring quantitative and qualitative data to bear in evaluating their central claims about the value—and values—that such integrated programs confer on their students;

  • Discuss what the evaluation of current programming suggests for future and improved programming.