Saturday, April 1, 2017

Liberal Arts Encourages Community Consciousness

Charday Ward

The following one-on-one interview delves into the meaning and value of the Liberal Arts field of study.

After being homeschooled from 1st-12th grade, Charday Ward graduated from CASL in 2010 having majored in English and minored in African and African American Studies. She currently works as a Community Developer in Detroit, and is convinced her liberal arts back ground has widened her world, personally, and professionally.

Charday shares her story below…

What did you enjoy most about your CASL student experience?

Charday: I enjoyed my African and African American Studies (AAAS) classes and all the perks that came along with being in that program. The Souls of Success retreat was one of the highlights of my college career. Also, meeting campus guests like legendary jazz artist Ken Cox, poet and activist Sonia Sanchez, international theater director Aku Kadogo, and renowned jazz percussionist Jerry LeDuff had a major impact on my life. These were my professors' personal friends and they brought them to our campus to enrich our college experience and inspire us to be world changers and creators. 

How has your liberal arts degree helped determine your career choice/path? 

Charday: My liberal arts degree shaped my career choice/path by making me an extremely well-rounded person who can do so many things in so many different fields. Shortly after graduating from UM-D, I went into education and now I work as a Community Developer in Detroit. I hope to one day serve in a political office and I know with a background in liberal arts I have the knowledge and experiences to effectively serve my community as a legislator. 

How has your liberal arts degree shaped you as a person? 

Charday: My liberal arts degree and the material studied in my programs inspired me to become a community minded individual and to do whatever was in my power to positively influence people in my community. It shaped my perspective of the world around me and made me a great teacher of English, African-American History and Writing, and also prepared to me effectively work in the Detroit community as a Youth Coordinator for a community development corporation. Studying liberal arts also awakened the creative side of me, and exposed me to literature and humanities that inspired me to become an emerging playwright and poet.  

Do you think people misunderstand the value of a liberal arts degree? And if so, how do you help to adjust their understanding?

Charday: Yes, I think people misunderstand the value of a liberal arts degree. Sometimes a liberal arts degree is mistakenly considered "easy" or "unfocused." However, I feel that it made me well-rounded, taught me the ways of the world, and prepared me for work in the service field. I always advocate for a liberal arts education, especially when I am advising young people. I encourage them to study literature, history, communications and writing because it will help them to be successful in almost any career. 

Did you do anything exciting to celebrate Women’s History Month?

Charday: Yes!  I had the opportunity to conduct a workshop with some young ladies at Alternatives for Girls.  We had a very invigorating discussion about women's equality and what needs to be done to solve some of the inequities that women face in America. It was an extremely inspiring conversation and it moved me to continue the discourse in other spaces like it. 

Interview conducted by Leah T. Johnson, CASL 2011