Practicing the Arts of Liberty

Christopher P. Long

Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University
@cplong |

The Context

Academe is called to cultivate institutional habits of truth telling and truth hearing, critical self-reflection, and accountability.

We must consciously and intentionally empower those habits on our campuses to meet that calling.

"Can Michigan State Recover and Chart a New Path for Higher Education?"
Inside Higher Education, July 11, 2018.

Performative Consistency

To enact the values for which you advocate.

Performing the Humanities Ph.D. | Performative Publication

James Baldwin

“I can't believe what you say, because I see what you do.”

Baldwin in Hyde Park, 1969, photo by Allan Warran, The Price of the Ticket, 594.


An activity to be practiced well or badly.

Positive Freedom





The Virtues of the Arts of Liberty

The Liberal Arts Endeavor

Communicate with Eloquence

Embrace Diversity with Grace

Perceive Globally with Imagination

Respond to complexity with Nuance

Three Core Habits of the Arts of Liberty

Attentive Listening

"...a Listening Presence."

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Generous Thinking.

Ethical Imagination

ethos is character

empathy + new possibilities for a more just future

Critical Discernment

"Critical Humility"

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Generous Thinking.


Intentional Practice

Marcus Aurelius

Look within. Within is where you'll find the source of the good, which is always able to burst forth anew if you always look.

Meditations, VII, 59.


We become just by doing things that are just, temperate by doing things that are temparate, and courageous by doing things that are courageous.

Nicomachean Ethics, 1103b1-2.

The Process is the Product

The New General Education

The Liberal Arts Endeavor: A New General Education.




Experiential Learning

Ethically Imaginative Citizenship

"Empathetic Citizenship"

Nancy Cantor, Of Mutual Benefit.

John Dewey

We have forgotten that [democracy] has to be enacted anew in every generation, in every year and day, in the living relations of person to person in all social forms and institutions.

The Later Works of John Dewey:1925-1953, Social Frontier, 416.

Practicing the Arts of Liberty | @HuMetricsHSS | @PubPhilJ

The Journal of General Education | @JGenEdu