From the Dean

Delivering Excellence in the Liberal Arts

College of Arts and Sciences faculty are dedicated teachers and scholars who work closely with students in order to give them the opportunity to grow academically, creatively and spiritually. We place a high priority on undergraduate research, community-based learning and experiential learning. Our students are working with faculty, whether in chemistry, psychology, economics or English, among other programs, to produce quality scholarly work that often leads to publication in professional journals or presentations at professional conferences. Our students engage with the community through integrated service-learning coursework in sociology, communication and journalism, and theology. Courses in these programs and many others take our students outside the classroom and help them support the needs of individuals and institutions in the region. Our students, in other words, are learning by doing and learning while serving.

In CAS we place a high priority on intercultural learning, whether through the interfaith initiatives of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center or the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, through coursework such as in modern and classical languages or American culture and difference, through geographically diverse short-term study abroad programs, or through the ever-expanding work of the American Museum of Asmat Art at the University of St. Thomas.

Of course, as the liberal arts unit of St. Thomas, we also are dedicated to fostering the creative and artistic talents of our students. Our student-run literary journal, Summit Avenue Review, features student poetry, photography,graphic arts and short stories. Our art history program engages students’ creative side as they work to curate exhibits focused on a wide range of media. And we have an outstanding program in music. Hundreds of St. Thomas students participate each year in a broad range of instrumental and choral ensembles. Whether performing at Orchestra Hall in the annual St. Thomas Christmas concert or on stages in China or Italy, these students stir our souls through the beauty of their work.

This year brings with it particular recognition for the Music Department. The University of St. Thomas Chamber Singers, under the direction of Angela Broeker, performed at the American Choral Directors Association national convention on March 10. One of only five college or university choirs accepted, their selection came after a blind audition process that included CD submissions from more than 70 college/university choirs across the nation. The convention, held this year in Chicago, was attended by more than 4,000 choir directors. Being invited to perform is a singular honor. (See the story A High Note: Chamber Singers and Show’d Up Band Perform Together Nationally.) This invitation is recognition of the national stature and exceptional quality of our program. And it is just one more example of excellence in the liberal arts here at the University of St. Thomas.

Marisa Kelly, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences since 2006, will become provost and vice president for academic affairs at Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y., on July 1. An interim dean for the 2011-2012 academic year will be appointed this spring.

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