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The Institute for the Liberal Arts

About the ILA



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Scenes from the ILA's First Annual Garden Party

The Institute for the Liberal Arts at Boston College hosts conversations and supports programs that examine and advance liberal arts education.

The ILA is dedicated to fostering innovative programs in the liberal arts that will enhance the intellectual life of students and faculty and lead to new ways of understanding the world we live in. The Institute calls for major grant proposals twice a year and funds projects conceived by interdisciplinary teams of faculty and dedicated to thinking imaginatively about the liberal arts and the contemporary university. The Institute also organizes seminars and symposia that bring faculty from different disciplines together around shared topics of interest. The Institute collaborates with existing programs and centers, forging connections across campus and supporting scholarship that bridges the humanities and other disciplines, including the professional schools.

Boston College has worked since 1863 to uphold the longstanding commitment of Jesuit Catholic colleges and universities to the centrality of liberal arts education.  The Institute for the Liberal Arts honors the Jesuit contribution to higher education by thinking seriously about the place of the liberal arts in the twenty-first-century university.

The Institute for the Liberal Arts reports to the Office of the Provost.

The ILA's director, Mary Crane, is the Thomas F. Rattigan Professor in the English Department at Boston College. Her research centers on early modern English literature and culture, and she is the author of Framing Authority: Sayings, Self, and Society in Sixteenth-Century England and Shakespeare's Brain: Reading with Cognitive Theory