Letter From President Andrew T. Hsu: On the Horizon

The pandemic has taught us a lot of classes. And, like any great trainer, the pandemic will, even right after it is absent, carry on to present instruction to us for a long time to occur – in means we couldn’t foresee.

COVID-19 is a milestone instant in our civilization. It is a time of good reckoning, a time of fantastic response and a time of excellent resetting.

As you could be expecting, I observed considerably and I realized much this past yr. I consider any community leader, company operator, substantial and little, or corporate executive right now could generate quantity right after volume about successes and failures introduced about by the pandemic. For the pandemic showed the cracks in our façade, specially as it relates to fairness, but it also disclosed strengths in our character and increased society.

For me, I have uncovered the pandemic to be a effective reminder of the price and relevance of the liberal arts – the core of who we are at the School of Charleston.

I would hope for our college students, our alumni and our community of students that they observed the pandemic by way of a lot of various lenses and grasped the sheer complexity of the circumstance – when epidemiology satisfies politics … meets commerce … meets anthropology … fulfills conversation … and so on into just about every educational self-discipline. I hope we, as customers of the increased College of Charleston local community, have been in a position to comprehend that very simple, a person-dimension-fits-all alternatives were being as elusive as a vaccine appointment this earlier winter season.

For the liberal arts purists, they may perhaps stage to the trivium and quadrivium – the 7 disciplines that comprise the classical conception of the liberal arts: grammar, logic, rhetoric, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy and tunes. And they may well take difficulty with my broader strategy of liberal arts teaching and disciplines in the modern age.

On the other hand, I imagine we can all agree that “liberal arts,” regardless of what our definition, has benefited humanity greatly during the ages by shaping and getting ready well-rounded, dependable citizens who have the vital breadth of awareness to add to society in so several different techniques. Not mainly because one particular or two distinct topics are the wellspring of wisdom, but, rather, the mix of a lot of various disciplines allows to body a person’s intellect to be open up and to be curious.

In my have existence, I have uncovered that the liberal arts are about revealing the unique sides of knowledge, adding dimension, color, nuance and context to the globe all over us. And that the act of discovery, we see time and time once again, is ideal accomplished by acquiring this wide range of knowledge and general better knowing. Simply just put, I believe becoming experienced in the liberal arts tradition tends to make for improved trouble-solvers, superior thinkers and perhaps even better people.

As an establishment additional than 250 a long time outdated, the School of Charleston carries on the Renaissance and Enlightenment traditions of incorporating studies of record, philosophy, sciences, languages and culture into its foundation instructing and curriculum. And I am proud to say that as we, the Faculty of Charleston, employ our 10-yr strategic program called Tradition and Transformation, a crucial portion of our eyesight is to redefine the liberal arts for the 21st century and the future.

By redefining the liberal arts, I suggest how do we, as a college, evolve the trivium and quadrivium to include disciplines all-around digital literacy, technologies, sustainability, artificial intelligence and biotechnology (and the ethics encompassing AI and biotechnology), psychology, cultural recognition and inclusion, between other applicable, real-globe matters?

While the news headlines could relate substantially negativity – whether or not it’s the pandemic, social justice concerns, local climate alter or divisive political rhetoric – this is a pivotal time in humanity as we are seeing our information foundation enhance so fast – across all topic issue.

And getting in a college, especially one particular like the School of Charleston, exactly where the liberal arts are central to our core, our faculty, staff and students have the chance, even if only in a little way, to help nurture that exponential progress.

For severe lifelong learners like our students and alumni, this is a seriously very good time to be alive. And, from my viewpoint, this is a time when a Higher education of Charleston education is more essential than ever.