Episode 01: The Future of Liberal Arts Education with Lawrence Bacow

Document Type


Publication Date


Department 1

President’s Office


Welcome to the first episode of Conversations Beneath the Cupola with host Gettysburg College President Robert Iuliano. With an extensive career in higher education, Iuliano has been in positions of administrative leadership and has been a professor at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In this episode of Conversations Beneath the Cupola podcast, Iuliano has invited Lawrence Bacow, Harvard University’s 29th president. Bacow has extensive experience in higher education and has held his current position since 2018. Aside from this, Bacow’s career experience with teaching and educational leaders spans three decades.

As Iuliano and Bacow get into the interview, Bacow notes that the view of higher education has changed, where it is more common to consider higher education as an investment and less as education. Skepticism of higher education has risen and public support for higher education has fallen due to unreasonable costs, left-leaning bias, and self-aggrandizing focus. However, regardless of naysayers, Bacow underscores the role of a liberal arts education in teaching students to master critical reasoning skills, an invaluable skillset for all aspects of life.

Bacow shares his insights into the cost of higher education. He mentions that it is important to address this issue. In addition, there is pressure to make sure that stakeholders’ desires are seen to. These desires include curriculum design, setting a right price, transferring the right skill sets, enabling services for students, and the like. One important aspect that needs to be maintained is making sure to represent the different opinions across the societal and political spectrum.

At the end of this episode, Bacow shares final advice and his impressions from Inauguration weekend at Gettysburg College. Subscribe to our podcast and listen to the full episode to hear the entirety of these thoughts and insights into the future of liberal arts education.


A full transcript of the podcast is available on the podcast website.