Mellon Research Forum
In a rapidly changing world where the future of work is uncertain, the skills cultivated through study of the liberal arts and humanities—everything from curiosity and critical thinking to historical perspective and competence across cultures—have never been more important to fostering future visionaries. The colleges that advance these disciplines are facing increasing pressure to prove their economic value to students and society—meaning longstanding anecdotal observations aren’t enough.
Since 2017, Mellon has supported new qualitative and quantitative research into the outcomes of a liberal arts education across a range of categories, including impacts on economic wellbeing, cognitive and psychosocial development, physical and mental health, and civic and political participation. Throughout, social scientists and humanists involved in these research projects will consider the pragmatic implications of their work. In consultation with policy experts, this research aims to inform recommendations for action by institutional leaders, policymakers, funders, and other stakeholders to consider support of liberal art and humanities education.
Rossman, Daniel, Meagan Wilson, Rayane Alamuddin, Julia Karon, Jenna Joo, and Catharine B. Hill. “Measuring a Liberal Education and its Relationship with Labor Market Outcomes: An Exploratory Analysis.” Ithaka S+R. Last modified 29 September 2020.
Gardner, Howard and Wendy Fischman, “Towards Quality Higher Education: Barriers and Enablers,” Frontiers and Advances in Positive Learning in the Age of Information. Last modified 3 January 2020.
Hill, Catherine B. and Elizabeth Davidson Pisacreta, “The Economic Benefits and Costs of a Liberal Arts Education,” The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Ithaka S&R. Last modified January 2019.
Ryff, Carol D., “Linking Education in the Arts and Humanities to Life-Long Well-Being and Health,” The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Last modified January 2019.
Farrington, Camilla A., “Noncognitive Outcomes of Liberal Arts Education,” The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Last modified January 2019.
Brighouse, Harry, “How Can We Understand ‘Liberal Arts Education’?,” The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Last modified January 2019.
McAvoy, Paula, David Campbell, and Diana Hess, “The Relationship Between a Liberal Arts Education and Democratic Outcomes,” The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Last modified January 2019.
Braun, Henry. “The Cognitive Outcomes of Liberal Education,” The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Last modified January 2019.
McCaughey, Robert A., “Still Here: Change and Persistence in the Place of the Liberal Arts in American Higher Education,” The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Last modified January 2019.