The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer


The Lost Art of the Liberal Arts

It’s long past time to abolish the weak link of Fordham University

The U.S. News and World Report rankings sent shockwaves throughout Fordham’s campuses on Sept. 18, 2023, when the organization announced that the university had fallen 17 places from 72nd to 89th. Six months later, it’s clear that one sector of the university is to blame: Fordham College.

Fordham College, an umbrella term describing the two separate liberal arts colleges at the Lincoln Center and Rose Hill campuses, comprises all academic programs that are not a part of the Gabelli School of Business. From theater to economics to English to math, a wide range of programs across various academic disciplines live within Fordham College. 

One might argue that, because of this diversity, Fordham College serves as the backbone of Fordham University — an institution that “affirms the value of a core curriculum rooted in the liberal arts and sciences,” according to its mission statement.

This perspective, though, reflects an outdated, overly traditional view of education, one which values nebulous concepts of self-actualization over preparing students for their future as workers. The liberal arts model devalues productivity in favor of personality.

When the U.S. News and World Report announced its rankings, the Gabelli School of Business — and particularly its international business program, which is housed exclusively at the Lincoln Center campus — skyrocketed despite the university’s overall fall from grace. The school is currently ranked 11th in the world for international business, a staggering 78 places above the university as a whole. 

While Fordham College did not receive an individual ranking, a basic understanding of averages reveals that it must be ranked even lower than 89th. This abysmal ranking, coupled with the well-proven fact that business majors are more lucrative than liberal arts majors, reveals that Fordham has an ethical obligation to its students to abolish Fordham College and shepherd all students into Gabelli.

Fordham College simply fails to prepare students for the harsh reality of the workforce. Liberal arts majors have a reported unemployment rate of 6.7% and a staggering underemployment rate of 54%, making graduates significantly worse off than bachelor’s degree holders at large, who have an unemployment rate of 2.2%. Average incomes are also lower across the board for liberal arts majors when compared to business majors.

Now, Fordham can set a new trend, one fitting of our times: abolishing the liberal arts.

If there’s one phrase that Fordham students have heard ad nauseam, it is “cura personalis.” One of the central tenets of a Jesuit education, “cura personalis,” or caring for the whole person, purportedly guides everything Fordham does. Encouraging students to take on hundreds of thousands of dollars — especially amid tuition increases — for a major that will lead to them being unemployed or underemployed does not constitute caring for the whole person.

Speaking of tuition increases, Fordham claims that such actions are necessary due to the small size of our institution’s endowment, which grows through alumni donations (or, in the status quo, the lack thereof). Fordham’s failure to produce wealthy alumni — a result of the continued offering of a liberal arts curriculum — has caused the precarious financial situation of the university. 

Federal regulators have recently expressed interest in cracking down on predatory student lending practices. Such regulation would be catastrophic for Fordham, as students largely rely on student loans to pay the ever-increasing cost of attendance. If regulators follow through on these promises, Fordham will need to seek alternative funding sources, the most obvious of which being wealthy alumni.

Clearly, those alumni will not come from Fordham College. For the financial health of the university, Fordham must focus all of its resources toward Gabelli. If students want to read, they can do that on their own time (and dime). 

By continuing to offer a liberal arts curriculum which lowers rankings and hinders students’ future incomes, the school fails to fulfill its central function. If Fordham wants to retain its prestige and continue to attract applicants, it must abandon the misguided and antiquated idea of a “well-rounded” education. You can’t put a circle peg in a square hole. 

Columbia College made history in 1919 when it implemented a core curriculum, a set of standards which would later serve as a model for universities around the country and world. More than 100 years later, though, a core curriculum has proven itself outdated. Now, Fordham can set a new trend, one fitting of our times: abolishing the liberal arts.

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About the Contributors
ANA KEVORKIAN, Former Managing Editor
Ana Kevorkian (she/her), FCLC ’24, is the former managing editor at The Fordham Observer. This is her third year with The Observer, having previously served as head copy editor, and she is so excited to serve the organization which has given her so much in this capacity. When she’s not doing Observer-related tasks, you can find her watching movies (see: “Fordham Cinephiles Can Finally Know Peace”), listening to Taylor Swift, reading and wandering the city aimlessly.
AURELIEN CLAVAUD, Former Creative Director
Aurelien Clavaud (he/him), FCLC ’25, is the former creative director. He previously served as head photo editor and creative director and assistant sports & health editor. He majors in international political economy and loves photography, basketball and writing. He is from Houston, Texas, but has taken a liking to NYC and its frigid weather.

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