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School of Liberal Education


Welcome to the School of Liberal Education

The School of Liberal Education at the University of Lethbridge  was established in 2017 to enhance our commitment to liberal education as the university’s foundational teaching and learning philosophy.

By fostering free inquiry and the critical interpretation of ideas, our unique four-pillar approach to liberal education enables a better understanding of experiences and a more empathetic approach to those around us. This helps our students become global citizens who think critically, communicate thoughtfully, respect creativity and act in ways that better the world around them.

“Liberal Education is an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. It provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g. science, culture, and society) as well as in-depth study in a specific area of interest. A liberal education helps students develop a sense of social responsibility, as well as strong and transferable intellectual and practical skills such as communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings.”

                                                                                                                                             - American Association of American Colleges and Universities


School of Liberal Education Events/Activities

Social Justice Symposium 2019

Stay tuned for updates re:  Social Justice Symposium 2020 which will be held on September 25, 2020.

The School of Liberal Education hosted its 3rd annual Social Justice Symposium on September 20, 2019, with about 130 participants from the university and city communities. Here's a short video about our event:


The U of L Early Start Program

A program designed for incoming first year students, to promote student success and to ease the transition from high school to university.

When: August 24 to Sept. 4, 2020. 

Students will:

  • Get a full course credit for a special enhanced version of LBED 1500, The First Year Experience: Mapping our Communities.
  • Build social networks with a diverse group of incoming students.
  • Develop the skills & resources needed to be successful in university.


Common Book Project

This project, now in its third year at the University of Lethbridge, encourages all students, faculty, staff, alumni and interested community members to read a book chosen for current relevance.  See 

 For more information on the 2019/20 Common Book, click here!

Liberal Education Living Room (Speaker Series)

The Lib Ed Living Room Speaker Series highlights the connections between disciplines, bringing people together to discuss relevant issues and building a more engaged community of leaders, innovators, thinkers and doers.  Join the conversation.

Monday, March 9, 2020 12:00 - 12:50 p.m. | PE-264 (Sports & Wellness Facility)

U of L Common Book - Moon of the Crusted Snow  | Shelly Wismath, Christopher Churchill, Chloe Devoy

Everyone is welcome.  Note:  this presentation is taking place during class time; therefore, space is limited.

Bridging Histories: Bringing Internment Stories to Life | Benjamin Weistra

Inaugural Bridge Prize Award is a huge success

Bridge Prize: National Story Award deadline sees 340 entries from 61 post-secondary institutions across Canada.  Click here for details.

Erin Burns wins School of Liberal Education 2020 Volunteer Scholarship

The School of Liberal Education is pleased to congratulate Erin Burns for receiving the School of Liberal Education Volunteer Scholarship for 2020.  Erin is a second year student in Fine Arts, pursuing a combined B.F.A. and B.Ed degree.  

The School of Liberal Education Volunteer Scholarship was set up in 2019 to celebrate the importance of volunteer work as part of the University of Lethbridge's foundational philosophy of Liberal Education.  The unversity's model of Liberal Education encourages our students to use their broad and integrated knowledge and their critical thinking skills to participate in and give back to their communities at all levels.  A $1000 award is given annually to a student who is registered with the UVolunteer Program and embodies the philosophies of Liberal Education and volunteerism in their academic and volunteer records.

"University has helped me to learn so much about myself and others. It has helped me to become more empathetic, curious and confident. I also feel comfortable asking questions and standing up for what I believe in."

Jamie Lewis | BA Student
Majors: Anthropology and Religious Studies


University of Lethbridge - Jamie Lewis


Our Vision

The School of Liberal Education embodies the University of Lethbridge's commitment to provide students with the skills to think critically and creatively, communicate clearly, work collaboratively, solve complex problems, and contribute fully to society as engaged and informed global citizens and leaders. 


Our Mission

To promote the University's foundational philosophy of teaching and learning, based on the goals of our Four-Pillar model of Liberal Education:

  • Expand breadth of knowledge and viewpoints
  • Integrate knowledge across disciplines
  • Emphasize critical, questioning and creative thinking, leading to decisions based on evidence and reasoning 
  • Foster engaged community citizenship, at all levels from local to global


Featured Stories

The Bridge Prize logo

School of Liberal Education unveils The Bridge Prize Competition

The Bridge Prize Competition, a national short-story contest for students at any Canadian post-secondary institution, was launched in March  2019 by  The School of Liberal Education. This contest will run in 5 iterations, every second year. The first round closed in January 2020, with an amazing 340 story submissions, from over 60 institutions and 9 provinces across the country. Stay tuned for the announcement of the winners in September 2020, and the opening of the next round of the competition in January 2021. 

Read more


Liberal Education Courses Eligible for new Alberta Education Math Bursary

There is a $1000 Alberta Education Math Bursary available for students who are enrolled in education or pre-education at the University of Lethbridge for students who want to be teachers, but are not mathematics majors. Two Liberal Education courses were recently added to the approved list: LBED 2100 Quantitative Reasoning and LBED 2200 Puzzles and Problems.  Information regarding the bursary can be found here:    or by emailing



SACPA Talk - Dean Shelly Wismath

On February 6th, Shelly Wismath (Dean of the School of Liberal Education) presented at the Southern Alberta Council of Public Affairs (SACPA), on why Liberal Education (still) matters in our current world.  The video of her presentation is available on YouTube at




If  you'd like to read more about Liberal Education, and the various pillars of our model, see the Bibliography we have compiled here! 


A new edited volume on Lib Ed! Liberal Education and the Idea of the University will be published by Vernon Press in April 2019. Edited by Karim Dharamsi and James Zimmer, the volume includes an article on the Evolution of Liberal Education at the University of Lethbridge, by U of L authors Shelly Wismtah, Jan Newberry and Heather Mirau. See

For a good introduction that explains the differences between Liberal Education, Liberal Arts and General Education, see the overview article
What is a Liberal Education, from the Association of American Colleges & Universities, at 

An article by U of L Political Science professor John von Heyking on  What Socrates Means for Liberal Education in Asia: