UC Clermont creates liberal arts pathway to four-year degree

Degree emphasizes social justice

Quinlan Bentley knew he wanted to pursue journalism at the University of Cincinnati — but the 2017 Batavia High School graduate wasn’t sure if he was ready for the jump to a large university environment.

“Coming from a smaller school, I didn’t necessarily think I was as prepared to go straight to Main Campus,” Bentley said.

Bentley found a solution in his own backyard — UC Clermont College’s Liberal Arts program, where he found affordable tuition, small classes and an ideal first step toward his journalism dreams.

“Liberal arts provided a solid foundation and broadened my horizons to include ideas I wasn’t exposed to in high school,” said Bentley, who transferred to UC’s College of Arts and Sciences after earning his associate degree and plans to graduate this year with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. To gain real-world experience, he interned with the Cincinnati Business Courier and the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Bentley’s path — one trodden by many UC Clermont students — now has been formalized in a direct two-plus-two agreement with the College of Arts and Sciences. The setup allows students to complete their first two years of study at UC Clermont, then transfer seamlessly to complete their bachelor’s degree.

Liberal arts course offerings also have been updated to reflect current social justice conversations around equality, access and history — focuses that students can build upon in a four-year degree, and that play to the interests and strengths of faculty members.

UC Clermont English professor Phoebe Reeves said the well-rounded background a humanities degree provides offers a natural springboard to many entry-level jobs in corporate and communication fields, as well as advanced study in more specialized areas.

“A liberal arts degree focuses especially on ‘soft skills’— such as communicating clearly with other people — and employees who excel in those skills are the ones who get promoted,” Reeves said. “If I hold a certain opinion, how do I defend it? What do others think? We’re not teaching students what to think; we’re equipping them with the ability to consider others’ experiences.”

Liberal arts provided a solid foundation and broadened my horizons to include ideas I wasn’t exposed to in high school.

Quinlan Bentley UC Clermont alum

The UC Clermont curriculum is also flexible, a feature that appeals to non-traditional students like Dana Richard.

“I’d been out of the workforce awhile. I never finished my degree; I always put it on the backburner while I was busy doing life,” said Richard. “Finally, it felt like now or never, but nothing felt quite right for someone so far removed from the college experience. When I came to UC Clermont, it felt so comfortable.”

Richard had a longstanding interest in writing, so she enrolled in the Liberal Arts program. She earned her associate degree in 2021 and is now a creative writing major in UC’s College of Arts and Science. Reeves agreed that the broad exploration and opportunities offered by the program is beneficial to students’ current and future goals, whatever they might be.

“Liberal Arts fit me well,” Richard said. “I met my general education requirements, and the curriculum also encouraged me explore other interests and see where I might want to go in the future.”

Learn more about UC Clermont’s Liberal Arts program at ucclermont.edu/liberal-arts or by contacting professor Phoebe Reeves at phoebe.reeves@uc.edu. Or you can start your application today at ucclermont.edu/apply.

Featured image at top of Phoebe Reeves. Photo/Danny Kidd/University of Cincinnati.