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

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

Turtle Logo

In Blackfoot culture, turtles are considered to be a symbol of creation and motherhood and embody a similar idea as that conveyed by the term “mother earth” in English. There are a number of turtle effigies or geoglyphs in Blackfoot Traditional Territory, and the turtle is important in Blackfoot culture, mythology and history. The West Lethbridge Turtle Effigy, located a short distance south of the University of Lethbridge, is a significant geoglyph and an important historical and cultural site for the Blackfoot people. The turtle has been chosen by the University of Lethbridge, Blackfoot Elders, and Traditional Experts as a fitting symbol for the University of Lethbridge School of Liberal Education.

The Turtle visual here was created by Blackfoot artist Tyler Soop.  

School of Liberal Education Highlights

May 2023:  The School of Liberal Education is a co-sponsor with the Department of General Education at Mount Royal University and its partner Medicine Hat College of the fifth Liberal Education Conference, to be held May 4 - 5, 2023 at MRU in Calgary, Alberta.  The theme this year is Liberal Education in an Era of Migration, Refugee Crises, and Decolonization.  Click here for Call for Papers details.

September 2022:  Our sixth annual Liberal Education Symposium welcomed guest speakers and students, faculty, staff, and community members to an afternoon of talks on the topic of Opening the University.  Stay tuned for details about the September 2023 symposium!  Click here for her profile.

July 2022:  Following the announcement in September 2021 of the Crooks' family endowment for the Evelyn Hamilton Chair in Liberal Education at the University of Lethbridge, we are pleased to welcome Dr. Miranda Leibel to the Chair position.  


Further Reading

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

For an article on the history of Lib Ed at ULethbridge, and the formation of the School of Lib Ed, see  Liberal Education and the Idea of the University (Vernon Press, April 2019).

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.

An article by E. J. Dionne Jr. in the Washingtonn Post, March 2023, called Why we Should all be Liberal: The Power of an Adjective, at Why we should all be liberal: The power of an adjective By E.J. Dionne Jr. Columnist | Follow March 12, 2023 at 6:30 a.m. EDT

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