In his classic essay “The Earthly Use of a Liberal Education,” A. Bartlett Giamatti, the former president of Yale University, explains that “A liberal education has nothing to do with those political designer labels liberal and conservative … A liberal education is not one that seeks to implant the precepts of a specific religious or political orthodoxy.” In other words, a liberal education does not encourage you to be (or become) a liberal, in the political sense of that word. In fact, a liberal education doesn’t seek to indoctrinate students into any particular way of thinking about any subject. Instead, a liberal education “rests on the supposition that our humanity is enriched by the pursuit of learning … it is dedicated to the proposition that growth in thought, in the power to think, increases the pleasure, breadth, and value of life.”

According to Pamela Johnston, associate professor and English department chair at TLU, the word “liberal,” in this context, might be better understood the way it’s used on a bottle of sunscreen that advises you to “Apply liberally.”

“In other words, don’t skimp,” says Johnston. “A liberal arts education centers itself on the belief that we’re discovering important things about ourselves in every moment: when we’re listening to lectures and participating in class discussions, certainly, and when we’re completing labs and writing papers – but also when we’re doing something as basic as making new friends and deciding to join new organizations. We’re learning who we are in all these moments, too.

At TLU, you can expect to receive a first class education where the life of the mind is nurtured, where all questions are taken seriously, where critical thinking is encouraged, where a diversity of cultures are valued and where all these virtues grow out of your commitment to living and learning in a community of faith.
“Employers hire human beings because no machine knows how to think – to ask hard questions, come up with original answers, implement projects, and analyze data to learn from their successes and failures.”
– Pamela Johnston, Associate Professor and English Department Chair, TLU

“Leaders today must address problems that are not well defined and a broad educational experience is the best preparation for those problems that are difficult to frame. At TLU, our students learn from different perspectives and different ways of thinking about the world’s problems.”
– Dr. Stuart Dorsey, President
TLU Reader
The TLU Reader on Amazon
This book was written to help Texas Lutheran University students enter into a community of learning that spans many generations of Texas Lutheran graduates, faculty, staff, and friends. Through chapters written by TLU’s staff members and faculty from diverse disciplines, the readers are introduced to the foundational motivations, commitments, habits, goals, and vision that arise out of our educational mission. The TLU Reader shows what it means to become educated people on a journey of life-long learning.