Respecting the liberal arts

Kindelan speaks about the ‘hidden gem’ on campuses

By Alexis Mitchell
@alexis_mitch14

Nancy Kindelan, a professor at Northeastern University, paid a visit to The University of Findlay and informed UF of the “hidden gem” on campus: the liberal arts.

Kindelan argued in her lecture on Nov. 10 that the liberal arts benefit students across all majors. Taking theater though, she believes, is the most effective and rewarding liberal arts option for a non-liberal arts major.

According to Kindelan, when students participate in theater, they participate in a lot of activities that will help them in their daily lives and futures. They strengthen their skills in communicating with others, being organized, and problem solving.

Kindelan also believes that a lot of people in higher education do not respect the liberal arts.

“What I sensed at committee meetings that people didn’t understand was what the artist does, I was perplexed and I started to question why,” said Kindelan.

After she realized that some people in higher education were not fully educated on what the arts has to offer, she started interviewing a lot of college presidents asking them how they felt about theater on their campus.

“I got a lot of interesting comments. Things like theater is a soft skill not a hard skill, it’s too subjective, it doesn’t have any meat involved in it in terms of learning,” said Kindelan.

It was very difficult for Kindelan to sit through those interviews, she says; however, they made her realize that there was a lot of work to be done to bring to the public’s attention just how important the liberal arts are.

Christopher Matsos, assistant professor of theater at UF, was at the lecture and thought that what Kindelan had to say about theater and the liberal arts was interesting and beneficial.

“It’s an important message about thinking outside of your own field and recognizing what other people are studying as well and not just taking the classes you have to take for your one degree but exploring what else is out there,” said Matsos.

Matsos also believes that Kindelan is describing theater as this one vehicle for bringing together all these different views. This is important for UF because a lot of students are just focused in their own area when they should be getting out of their comfort zone, he says.

Kindelan closed her presentation saying that if more students in a wide range of majors are active in theater or anything in the arts, they will become responsible adults that will make a difference in the world.

“The role of the arts is the way that we really study the human condition and that studying the human condition is really important to being the kind of country that we want to be,” Kindelan said.

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