Chancellor defends liberal arts education
by Anna Oakes
Appalachian State University Chancellor Ken Peacock defended the value of a liberal arts education in remarks to the ASU Board of Trustees March 22.
"I want to go on record of saying I am a strong supporter and believer in the liberal arts. I think that is key at a university," Peacock said. "The skills that are learned in those liberal arts courses transfer from job to job."
Peacock's comments relate to the newly enacted UNC strategic plan's strong emphasis on job readiness and preference for particular fields of study, including pharmacoengineering, data science, advanced manufacturing, energy, defense and military, culture and tourism and applied public policy.
Faculty across the state have criticized the plan for abandoning the emphasis on a liberal arts education.
Peacock also expressed concerns about the approximate $135 million cut to higher education proposed in Gov. Pat McCrory's budget plan, released last week, stating that ASU has already suffered from the significant cuts to the university system over the past several years.
The chancellor noted the UNC strategic plan's charge to campuses to invest in "game-changing research."
"We're doing that with a budget that is shrinking and shrinking more? I need some lessons on how to do that," he said. "Scary times for us in public higher education."