On Liberal Arts Education and Finding Your Passion: An Interview with Michele Murray


We sat down with Michele Murray, Ph.D, Dean of Arts and Science (Interim) for a discussion about her life changing participation in a student exchange program, the value of choosing a liberal education and the importance of finding your passion.

On Life After High School

I was the first person in my family to go to university. After graduating from high school, I knew I was interested in history—but I had no idea what I would do with the rest of my life. In the summer after my first year as an undergraduate, I found out about a two-week study tour to the Middle East offered through my liberal arts university. My parents encouraged me to go on this trip. Little did they—or I—know how this course would change my life. The group spent a week in Egypt and a week in Israel, and I fell in love with Israel. Upon my return to Canada, all I wanted to do was get back there. In my third year of undergrad, I did go back: I went on exchange to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It was during that year that I took a course on Jewish-Christian relations in antiquity—and I discovered my passion. After my undergraduate experience, I ended up returning to Hebrew University to do an M.A. in Jewish history, and then went on to get my Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in Religion. Today I am a Professor of Religion, specializing in Jewish-Christian relations in antiquity, and loving my job! Taking that initial course led me here.

On Self Discovery and Finding Your Passion

Going to university and finding your passion is an extremely important part of a university education. After graduating from high school or CEGEP you might have a particular understanding about yourself. Maybe you excelled in science. Or maybe your strengths were in English or the language arts. At Bishop’s we strongly encourage you to build on those strengths, and to keep on exploring until you find something that really ignites your interest, that you feel passionate about. That energy is what will serve you well through the inevitable ups and downs that everyone encounters throughout their careers.

On the value of a liberal arts education. Will it help me to get a job?

Having familiarity and a sense of comfort in diverse disciplines will make you very attractive to employers. Our world is diverse and fast-changing, so employers are looking for well-rounded individuals who are adaptive and able to bring innovative and creative solutions to the table. Social confidence and excellent oral and written communication abilities will always serve you well. A liberal arts education will provide you with these crucial competencies.

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1 Response
  1. Holly

    I most definitely agree that finding ones passion is a very important part of university education and must say that Bishop’s does a wonderful job at helping and encouraging its students to find and/or develop their passion. Studying in a liberal arts setting gives wonderful opportunities to explore and discover a multitude of academic fields which makes the learning experience all the more interesting, furthermore it develops curiosity and widens our view of the world. Of course something that facilitates the process of discovering our passions is being around passionate people and Bishop’s is full of passionate professors and staff members that are all there to help us achieve our goals. I am so happy that I chose Bishop’s University for my undergrad education and will never be able to thank enough all the professors and staff members that I have encountered for their great skills and devotion at transmitting knowledge and passion, and making the BU experience such an exceptional one.

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