Why I Study the Liberal Arts: Dr. James Reitter

The tangibles: I learned how to tip, calculate square footage of a house, and balance my finances from math classes. Math also taught me whether I was getting ripped off or not. The sciences taught me that the natural world is incredibly fascinating. I have played mad scientist in Chemistry, controlled the earth in Physics, become aware of my own body and my surroundings in Biology. Once you realize what is around you, you begin to understand how complex and small we all are in relation.

The intangibles: We all laugh, cry, become angry, get depressed, and feel overjoyed at various points. I am not stranger to this, but writing and reading literature is a superbly helpful guide. I’ve learned from the past in History, from the present in Sociology and Political Science, and how I can make my own future in Philosophy. These classes have also taught me a sense of morality, and I’ve learned how to apply it (or question it) in Criminal Justice. Music, Theater, and Art have taught my heart to bleed and my brain to feel. Psychology has helped with understanding how my brain thinks.

I chose English as a major because those courses taught me the most about the world, and about myself. Through English classes at Dominican, you learn how to: solve problems with creative and inspired solutions, to thoroughly understand material presented to you, to articulate your ideas and thought process to others, and to meet external deadlines. These are critical skills in any place of employment. Coming from a family of engineers, accountants, medical professionals, and salesmen, I have witnessed that the people who possess these skills are the ones that get hired and promoted. The ones lacking these skills get left behind or ignored.

The best answer to this “Why I” question is to become wide-eyed.


Dr. James Reitter is an Assistant Professor of English and a member of the Freshmen Directorate. If you have questions about the value of a Liberal Arts degree, Dr. Reitter can be reached at james.reitter@duny.edu or (845) 848-4014.