The Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts was established in 2000 with the goal of strengthening liberal arts education locally and nationally. The Institute hosts scholarly conversation on the present and future of the liberal arts, provides liberal arts opportunities to area communities outside the academy, promotes educational access for first-generation and underserved populations, and fosters interdisciplinary contact between faculty and students through extracurricular events on campus.



Upcoming Programs


convo headerWhat knowledge, skills, and character traits are essential for addressing our most critical social challenges, and how can a liberal arts education help develop them?

Join us at Westmont College in Santa Barbara February 4 – 6, 2016 for the fifteenth annual Conversation on the Liberal Arts, “From Inquiry to Impact: Social Transformation through Liberal Learning.” We’ll consider several different means of effecting social change—social entrepreneurship, political engagement, non-profit and social-service work, and the emerging field of tri-sector leadership.

Our conversation will include a broad array of participants. Faculty and administrators who wish to foster change-making commitments and capacities among their students are encouraged to attend. But we also—and perhaps especially—need to hear from those who bring perspectives from outside the academy: practitioners engaged in non-profit work, social entrepreneurship, or religious ministry; policymakers, whose work gives them distinctive tools for producing change; and students, whose interests and concerns will determine the shape of future social progress.

Might an education blending Chaucer and Chinese history, Kant and accounting, or genetics and gender studies be just what we need to address our most pressing problems? Let’s find out together.


Click here for full information about our 2016 Conversation.