Trent Building, University of Nottingham

April 11, 2018, by Ross Wilson

Why Liberal Arts at the University of Nottingham?

Liberal Arts is embedded in the traditions of the University of Nottingham and an important part of its future. This is a university that is founded on the principles of ambition, engagement, partnership and civic responsibility. Liberal Arts continues these ideals as it is a degree that is built on interdisciplinary research, communication and commitment to supporting student development alongside local and global awareness. Liberal Arts might be relatively new to the university but it’s what this institution has been doing for over a century.

Lecture hall, University of Nottingham, c.1930s

Interdisciplinary: Since the university’s founding as a civic college in the late nineteenth century, it has been a place where the importance of breadth in education has been stated. Indeed, the inaugural lecture series in 1881 advertising ‘University Education for the People’ demonstrates this commitment with talks on Shakespeare, prehistory and the science of musical performance. Liberal Arts continues this commitment to interdisciplinary work by working across 15 different disciplines to provide students with access to ideas across the arts, humanities, social sciences and mathematics.

Communication. The University Park campus was developed through the donation of over 30 acres of parkland by the local entrepreneur Sir Jesse Boot (1850-1931). By 1928 the Trent Building was developed where students studying the arts, literature, science and economics could work. Within this grand building, students and staff fulfilled Sir Jesse Boot’s hope that, “the University will spread the light of learning and knowledge.” Liberal Arts maintains this pledge to communication by creating a programme that enables students to lead, learn and innovate and become the next generation who can help change the world.

Supporting Students: The University of Nottingham was officially granted its charter in 1948 to provide students with degrees in the Arts, Education, Science, Applied Science, Agriculture and Horticulture. As more students arrived to take their degrees throughout the 1950s and 1960s, campus developed to provide world-class facilities to support teaching and research. University Park continues to grow with new accommodation, study spaces and sports facilities constructed in the last few years. Liberal Arts makes this aspect of the university central to its mission as it supports students to create their own degree programme that will enhance their careers and develop new opportunities.

IT Teaching Room, University Park Campus

Local and Global Awareness: The university demonstrated its commitment to local and worldwide engagement with the development of the campuses in Ningbo (China), Semenyih (Malaysia) as well as the Jubilee Campus in Nottingham from the 1990s onwards. These sites provided innovation in the arts, business and science. By working within the city and operating at an international level, the university ensured opportunities for students to obtain a dynamic educational experience and a global perspective. Liberal Arts draws upon the fantastic and dynamic city of Nottingham to develop ideas about innovating and interdisciplinary work. The core modules are international in scope, engaging students with ideas from across the world whilst work placements and study abroad opportunities further students’ local knowledge and global awareness.

The Liberal Arts degree builds on the traditions and works on the same principles outlined in the history of the University of Nottingham. This is a degree programme that supports students to explore the arts, humanities and social sciences, to advance their knowledge and skills, to make a local and global impact and to lead, learn and innovate. Liberal Arts is right at home at the University of Nottingham.

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