Saving the Liberal Arts at Carthage College from "Restructuring"

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The heart of Carthage College’s mission statement is: Seeking Truth, Building Strength, Inspiring Service—Together. The recent “restructuring” of the college recommended by President John Swallow will undermine each of these goals.

The restructuring entails the elimination of the following departments: Classics, Great Ideas and Philosophy. Other majors that will be affected by the restructuring include: Biology, English, Modern Languages, Music, Physics and Astronomy, Political Science, Religion, and Sociology and Criminal Justice. This “restructuring” will lead to the loss of 10-20% of college faculty in the “restructured” departments—including many tenured professors.

In a recent letter to alumni, President Swallow failed to refer to the goals of seeking truth, inspiring service, and doing this “together.” This leads those who love the school to wonder if the present leadership takes the college’s goals to heart. President Swallow does NOT justify the changes by looking to the standards of truth, inspiration, and togetherness. He does use the word “strength” repeatedly—but strength cannot bring us together if it is not used to cultivate the love of truth and if it does not inspire noble service. Those departments that will be eliminated or restructured each play an essential role in cultivating these virtues.

President Swallow states that the restructuring is designed to “deliver degree programs more efficiently and effectively.” This sounds like a good way to describe improving an assembly line; this is not how one approaches inspiring a genuine love of learning in students. The departments that will be eliminated and diluted are among those which cultivate such a love.

This lack of concern for the stated goals of the college betrays not just a misunderstanding about liberal education but a complete lack of interest in the cultivation of genuinely independent minds. We ask that the powers that be at Carthage REJECT the wayward recommendation of President Swallow.

We ask students, alumni, friends of Carthage, and lovers of truth, service, and togetherness to please sign this petition to help Carthage College remain a liberal arts college in the strictest sense.

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