Book by Joseph Cuseo, Aaron Thompson
Review by Heidi Verticchio
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Illinois State University
Normal, IL

What courses should I take for my general education?  Which ones are the easiest?  Why do I need to take all these general education courses?  What should I take for my elective credits?  These courses are a waste of time!  I didn’t come to college to take all these random courses.  I want to take courses for my major.  As advisors, how many times have students posed these questions and made these types of comments to you?  Although advisors know the importance and relevance of the general education curriculum and electives, how do we get to students to understand the impact these courses can (and should) have on their educational growth?  This is a challenge that we must embrace in order to best prepare our students to be productive members of society.  Humanity, Diversity, & The Liberal Arts:  The Foundation of a College Education provides the reader with ample reasons, rationale, and hands-on practical tasks to assist advisors in outlining the benefits of such courses.

The unique style and formatting of the book attempts to grab the readers attention by using a variety of formats to assist with memory and motivate the reader.  Interspersed within the three chapters of the book are reflection questions, journal entry prompts, written exercises, student perspectives, personal experiences of the authors, concept maps (to serve as verbal-visual aids), cartoons, and scholarly support.  Additionally, the margins of the text are lined with hundreds of motivational quotes from a diverse range of talented individuals.  This style does break up the monotony of the text; however, it can be a distraction to the reader.  The most useful strategies consist of the reflection questions, journal entry prompts and written exercises.  Student completion of these types of activities can be informative to the advisor and therefore integral in the education of the student.

Not only does this text provide rationale for the importance of liberal arts, it also bridges the components of diversity and humanity with learning.  At the heart of this text, the reader is provided with practical information about using the liberal arts coursework to provide a foundation for understanding themselves and their role in society.  Additionally, the text explores the importance of using this information to promote life experiences after college.  Emphasis is placed on the infamous ‘transferrable skills’ that are necessary for all students to acquire in order to succeed in their chosen careers.

In conclusion, I would recommend this book to any advisor who values teaching students the benefits of the general education curriculum on lifelong learning.  It is a quick, easy read.  Hands-on exercises provided in this text could be assigned to students or completed during student appointments.  This book would be an excellent resource for instructors of first-year experience courses.  The earlier we can get students to understand their role in course selection and the impact this can have on their overall college experience the better we will be preparing them for our diverse world.

Humanity, Diversity, & The Liberal Arts:  The Foundation of a College Education.  (2010).  Book by Joseph Cuseo, Aaron Thompson. Review by Heidi Verticchio. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.  122 pp., $22.09, (paperback), ISBN# 978-0-7575-6241-9
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