Liberal Education

The concept of Liberal Education is central to the teaching philosophy at the University of Lethbridge, where it is founded upon Four Pillars:

  • Breadth.  Studying a wide variety of disciplines enables students to view issues from many perspectives.
  • Connections.  Integration of knowledge across multiple disciplines enables students to apply skills in a wide variety of contexts.
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking.  Analysis of authentic problems enables students to evaluate evidence and use logic to make informed decisions.
  • Citizenship.  Involvement in communities – from local to global – enables students to make meaningful contributions to society.

Examples of how the principles of Liberal Education are upheld in Chemistry and Biochemistry:

  • Chemistry and biochemistry are inextricably connected to all other sciences. Courses regularly apply concepts to problems from biology, medicine, engineering, etc.
  • Problem-solving, critical thinking and communication are core components of every course in chemistry and biochemistry.
  • Students working in research labs study complex real-world problems, including how we might make biodegradable plastics, how brain-tumour-initiating cells turn into cancerous cells, how viruses hijack our cell components to multiply, and how computer modelling can be used to learn how our bodies repair damaged DNA. 
  • In first-year chemistry courses, students learn about environmental issues including Ocean Acidification and Greenhouse Gases.
  • In senior chemistry courses, students learn about Green Chemistry and Catalysis and apply those principles to propose more environmentally responsible routes to make compounds.
  • In History of Chemistry, students learn many ways in which chemistry has significantly impacted human history.
  • In Elements of Human Nutrition, students analyze their eating patterns and make connections between food and health.
  • The iGEM teams (International Genetically Engineered Machines) take interdisciplinary learning to the next level, combining scientific research with business planning, marketing, ethics and much more – all in the name of solving real-world problems.

Find out more about the Liberal Education Program at the University of Lethbridge.