Writer’s Life: Thinking and Liberal Arts Curriculum

Albert Einstein said, “The value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.

“My undergraduate education is a liberal arts education. My major was history and my minors were English and military science. My Master of Arts degree is in Religious Education. My broad-based liberal arts education did more than prepare me for a job. It allows me to compete in the marketplace of ideas.

It has been thirty-seven years since I heard then university president Dr. Wendell Nedderman say I had met the requirements for my bachelor’s degree. Within minutes of his pronouncement, I raised my right hand and received my commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Army through the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).

I did not make the military a career. Three years of active duty followed then I headed to graduate school. I was amazed at how ready I was for graduate work. I knew how to read, write, study, do research and research papers, and how to think.

My University of Texas at Arlington liberal arts education taught me how to think independently and make sound judgments. I learned how to expand my horizons, discover new perspectives, and acquire the tools to defend my point of view. My education helped me learn to reflect on life, have a moral and historic compass where I can distinguish good from evil, justice from injustice, and what is noble and beautiful from what is simply useful.

How have I paid the bills? Working as a commissioned officer in the US Army, a minister, corporate trainer, Internet Coordinator, IT Support Analyst, and IT Systems Administrator have been my day jobs supporting my thirty-one plus years of freelance writing.

Employed in Information Technology I find it interesting to see how many persons have an undergraduate degree in the liberal art disciplines. These people know how to think outside the box. They have excellent critical thinking skills. They have great oral and written communication skills. They accept, embrace change and know how to successfully deal with it.

What else have I done with my history degree? All the above plus I have published over two dozen magazine and trade journal articles in over a dozen publications though the years. I have published poetry through the years. I have written over one-hundred book reviews. I have a website “Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews”. The site is a 100 best websites for history buffs. I read and review military history books published under more than a dozen different imprints. I have a publisher/editor reading the first five chapters of the historical fiction novel I am working on.

Younger coworkers often ask how I know so much about a variety of disciplines. They say I am a modern renaissance man. My answer: I have a liberal arts education from UT Arlington.

How committed am I to liberal arts education? I have three grown children and a son-in-law – all have liberal arts degrees. One is employed in a senior business management position, a second is a teacher, and the third has worked in customer service and information technology fields.

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