Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Joseph Heithaus, Ph. D

Second Advisor

Jordan Sjol, Ph. D

Third Advisor

John Berry, M.F.A.

Fourth Advisor

Marcus Hayes, M.F.A


What is the mission of the liberal arts?

“Knowledge emerges only through invention and reinvention, the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry beings pursue with the world and with others.”— Paulo Freire (72)

The liberal arts teaches a variety of ways of knowing, oriented not toward the development of hard skills; but united, powerfully, across disciplines, under the eclectic methodology of critical thinking, toward the broader story of the human soul.

The liberal arts curriculum can and often does teach you the skills to do well in the workplace; as is well-documented, liberal arts students, liberated from the means- ends logic of disciplinization, develop managerial, communicational, and network- oriented skills—skills crucial to any workplace. We know this. But—and this is crucial— that is not all the liberal arts does.

Being a critical thinker isn’t being a “good employee”, sometimes it is being a “bad” one. Sometimes thinking critically re-evaluating the standards of “good and bad” that others have parroted to you, putting aside your own material and social self- interests, and taking a stand. These are the people who expose hypocrisy, destroy ideology, and rebuild systems when necessary. In short, they are good employees—the best—but only in so far as it being a “good employee” coincides with what really matters: being a good human being.

Where does a “Creative School” fit in?

So, then, with all that I’ve said in mind, if we create an entirely new branch of DePauw entitled “The Creative School”, we are saying something specific: That the arts are different from other disciplines and that they, accordingly, require a different variety of “Critical Thinking”. We need to ask ourselves if this is true, and, from our answer, derive meaningful distinctions and terms on which we might build pedagogy. I believe this is true. Here is why I do.