Update from Dr. Andrew Seeley, the New Executive Director
When Jeff Lehman asked me to become the new executive director of the Arts of Liberty Project, I was very sensible of the honor, having seen him pour his heart into the work over the years. Jeff was in the midst of the project which led to Arts of Liberty when he joined me on the faculty of Thomas Aquinas College in 2005. He had been commissioned to design a museum-quality wall display of the history of education, from its beginnings at the dawn of civilization. My first indication of the scope of the project came from seeing his unrolled 100 foot-long mockup running the entire length of the nave of our campus library. I was deeply impressed by its scope and sequence, and by the detailed attention to each historical development. My wife and I were blessed to be able to visit the completed project, which graces a high school 45 minutes northwest of Des Moines. I remember thinking, “This must be shared more widely.”
I was delighted to learn that Jeff already had a greater project in mind, the Arts of Liberty Project. His original work formed the basis of the site’s timelines and galleries. But his intention was to use what we can learn from the best educational ideas and practices in history to springboard a renewal of education in our times. Over the years, his devoted leadership fashioned a website that has begun to live up to these hopes. Its resources for teachers, students, and lifelong learners have been accessed by tens of thousands. Its courses in the liberal arts and study guides on great works of philosophy and literature have been used by teachers around the world. It has published articles contributing to the revival of liberal education by devoted and accomplished teachers.
I look forward to working closely with Jeff, now the Director of the St. Ambrose Center at the University of Dallas, to further the work he has begun. Over 40 years of teaching and learning in programs of liberal education make me eager and ready to advance the project. Working with teachers and schools through the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education has made me aware of the liberating power that authentic education still exercises in our day and age. I hope to make the Arts of Liberty Project an ever-greater force for freedom, by making more widely known the abundant resources already available, and continuing to enhance it as a resource for teachers, students, and lifelong learners. I also want Arts of Liberty to connect visitors to the many organizations contributing to today’s renewal of liberal education, and to provide resources and opportunities for experienced teachers and current and budding scholars ready to make their own contributions.
I have been blessed to visit many schools wholly committed to an education that frees by forming minds and hearts. The atmosphere of joy in learning and teaching is often palpable. When I leave, I am stricken to the heart by the thought that so few teachers and students even dream that such joy is possible. May we all receive the strength and inspiration we need to foster dreams that become reality.
The mission of Arts of Liberty is to educate students, teachers, and lifelong learners in the purpose and power of the liberal arts and liberal education. To accomplish this mission, we offer a variety of online, interdisciplinary resources intended to form and to foster a knowledge and a love of the liberal arts and liberal education.
Our resources are for everyone—from the newcomer with a budding desire to learn but with little knowledge of the liberal arts and liberal education, to the seasoned scholar who already knows and loves this tradition of education and is seeking to deepen that knowledge and love.
Our vision is to equip all who seek the True, Good, and Beautiful with the arts that free us from vice and free us for virtue, that ennoble us as persons and enable us to lead others rightly, that begin in wonder and end in wisdom. By providing these resources, we desire to assist all lovers of wisdom by arming them with the arts of liberty.
Arts of Liberty is a Project of the University of Dallas, an academic institution with a long and distinguished history of promoting the liberal arts and providing an exceptional liberal education. UD’s mission is “to educate its students so they may develop the intellectual and moral virtues, prepare themselves for life and work in a problematic and changing world, and become leaders able to act responsibly for their own good and for the good of their family, community, country, and church.” Arts of Liberty is a natural outgrowth of UD’s mission, one that seeks to share the riches of the liberal arts and liberal education with the world.
About our Logo
Our logo is a stylized adaptation of an illumination entitled “Philosophy and the Seven Liberal Arts from a 12th century encyclopedia of learning compiled by the Abbess of the Hohenburg convent. Details can be found here.
Our resources include lesson plans for entire courses on the classical liberal arts of logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy as well as study guides for great books of literature, history, politics, philosophy, and theology. Our image galleries include commentaries on high-quality images of art as these embody the tradition of liberal education. Such images are ideal for helping orient the student by contextualizing the liberal arts and liberal education in time and place; they also bear witness to the way this tradition has had an enduring influence on Western culture. Our civilization timelines includes images and text that tell the story of education in the Western tradition and contextualize that story within the larger scope of world history. We have also recently begun to publish the “Examining Life” podcast.
These resources will be of use to anyone who wishes to acquire a knowledge of the liberal arts and the great books for themselves or to teach the same to others. The entire web site is a collaborative effort, involving scholars and educators from around the world who are actively engaged in liberal education at the K-12, undergraduate, and graduate levels.
The Arts of Liberty Project began as an idea Dr. Jeffrey Lehman had as a graduate student at the University of Dallas. He saw the wealth of wisdom in the Western tradition, but he also saw the dire need to recover that wisdom for the modern world. While teaching at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California, Dr. Lehman founded the project. Together with colleagues at TAC and friends elsewhere, he advanced the project from an initial idea to a well-developed website. After leaving TAC to develop an undergraduate program in classical education at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, Dr. Lehman returned to the University of Dallas, where it all began. In addition to serving as graduate director for UD’s master’s and certificate programs in classical education, he also continues to serve as the executive director of Arts of Liberty, now a formal initiative of UD. Today thousands of students, teachers, and lifelong learners from across the world have used our materials to study the liberal arts and liberal education.
The Arts of Liberty has produced 50 scholarly study guides on great books throughout the Western Tradition. We’ve also sponsored and published online 6 books and courses on the liberal arts and liberal education. We collaborate with the University of Dallas’ Classical Education M.A. Program, and we work in close collaboration with the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education (ICLE).
Jeffrey Lehman, Ph.D., is the founder and president of the Arts of Liberty Project. He earned a B. A. from…
For three decades, Dr. Andrew Seeley has been a Tutor at Thomas Aquinas College in California. Dr. Seeley received a…
To recover and revive the liberal arts and liberal education in this era, we need scholars who can write books, lesson plans, articles, and study guides with insight and excellence. Please contact us if you are interested in changing the world and have the experience and expertise to do so. We welcome all forms of contribution, great or small.
We are developing a network of graduate students from across the United States who are interested in recovering and reviving the liberal arts in higher education and secondary education. This network uses and produces Arts of Liberty materials, such as the courses and study guides. Join our community of learners and teachers!
Schools & Charter School Systems
We partner with schools and school systems for curriculum help and course packages. Please contact us if you too want to educate the next generation of liberal artists by partnering with us.
We love to partner with institutes inside and outside of the realm of education. Although the liberal arts are taught in the classroom, they can and ought to be used in the world. We partner with institutes to help them apply the skills of the liberal arts and the moral and intellectual wisdom of the liberal education.
Teachers are on the front lines of recovering the liberal arts in the classroom. They have a special role to play in the revival of liberal education in this country. We want to support you with our materials, but you can also support us with your feedback and suggestions.