Leadership Studies and Liberal Education

This article explores leadership studies as a complementary and integrating discipline in undergraduate liberal education curricula. A significant historical purpose of liberal education was to liberate and prepare its graduates to be active and capable participants and leaders in social, economic, religious, and political realms. This historical purpose has become resurgent in recent critical examinations of liberal education. Some now argue that the undergraduate liberal education should return, in part, to preparing citizens for leadership responsibilities necessary to strengthen our communities, nation, and democratic institutions. There appears to be a symbiotic relationship between liberal education and leadership studies. The knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary for effective leadership appear to be closely aligned with the desired learning outcomes of a liberal arts education, regardless of major. This article concludes that leadership studies may be an important and beneficial component of undergraduate liberal education curricula.