UCU is introducing an educational model unique in Ukraine, Artes Liberales, in September 2016. The program takes four years. Upon completion, the graduates receive a bachelor’s degree in history, philology, or culture studies.
Liberal education has as its goal the development of a wide outlook and general intellectual habits, as opposed to narrow professional preparation. This educational model is common above all in the USA. Liberal arts colleges are one of the most popular type of educational institution in that country.
The institutional tradition Artes Liberales emphasizes the development of skills of independent critical thinking, which includes intellectual openness to new ideas and perspectives, a preparedness to search for answers to difficult questions, critically assessing one’s own and others’ viewpoints, convictions, and arguments. This education is a priori interdisciplinary. It pre-supposes a particular format of communication of students with the teacher and with each other, in particularly with the help of interactive methods of instruction. Living together on “campuses” is considered the ideal environment for education in the liberal arts style.
Particularities of Artes Liberales at UCU:
- Individualized course tracks
- Less class time, compared with traditional programs
- Intensive study of classical and foreign languages
- A large number of elective courses in general education, the humanities, and professional areas
- An opportunity to select courses outside the professional program
- An opportunity to select professional specialization during the second year of study
“We offer three areas for those studying in the Artes Liberales program: history, philology, and culture studies. Applicants submit documents for only one area. During the first year of study students have the opportunity to audit classes in the other two areas. The particularity of the system of education of the Artes Liberales principle is that the student can change to another area after the first year. For example, you choose culture studies, but after a year you understand that history is more interesting to you, and you can now study history.” So the Dean of UCU’s Humanities Faculty, Ihor Skochylias, explains the program.
The instructional program is composed of: specialty disciplines in the chosen area (45%), student electives (30%), and disciplines in the common “Artes Liberales” track (25%).
According to Ihor Skochylias, the Artes Liberales program is not easy and is designed for the student who is ready to work. As part of the educational process students spend much time reading, writing, and discussing texts. The program also foresees the possibility of spending a semester abroad at partner universities as part of the European Erasmus + exchange program.
“We have a situation in which employers and Ukrainian society, in an era of painful reforms, need people who can clearly and convincingly communicate, analyze data, work in groups, and understand local and global contexts. The Artes Liberales program will prepare graduates like this. We expect that they will be prepared to make decisions on which depend their own future and the future of the society to which they belong and also to make rational and ethical choices.” So explains UCU Senior Vice-Rector Taras Dobko.