College of Liberal Arts

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Welcome From The Dean

The College of Liberal Arts offers a rich variety of majors and interdisciplinary programs in the liberal arts, which typically include the humanities and the social science disciplines. The term, "liberal arts," of course, does not refer to a political philosophy; rather, the idea of a liberal education implies that to be well educated a student must develop an array of intellectual skills, a variety of methodologies or ways of understanding our changing world, and a broad base of varied knowledge. In turn, such a liberal education will establish an invaluable foundation for more specialized study in one's major or in one of the professions, and for a life-long affinity for learning and continuing intellectual development. Whether you are a potential major in the College, or someone who contemplates becoming a COLA major, or a student who will fulfill many of the UNLV Core Curriculum requirements in the College, I'm delighted to welcome you.

The College of Liberal Arts is dedicated to an educational ideal nicely summarized by the Association of American Colleges and Universities: "Students will continue to pursue different specializations in college. But across all fields…higher education [should] help college students become INTENTIONAL LEARNERS who can adapt to new environments, integrate knowledge from different sources, and continue learning throughout their lives." The most highly regarded of our universities and colleges, professional and business leaders, medical and legal educators, and our best scientists have long understood that such a liberally educated student, be he or she an engineer or a philosopher, an M.D. or a sociologist, an historian, a business person or an English professor, typically will be more successful, more likely to be a leader in our society or in his or her profession, than a student who is more narrowly "trained" in only the current wisdom of his or her specific field.

To that end, we have designed our "skills courses," such as freshman composition, our other Core Curriculum courses, such as the constitutions courses offered in our Departments of History and Political Science, and our courses which may be used as Core Curriculum electives in multi-cultural, international or other areas, to be both challenging and rewarding, and, broadly, to encourage analytical thinking and to develop information gathering skills. We have also worked very hard to achieve a balance between our faculty's dedication to their own research, the "creation of knowledge," and to their teaching of undergraduates, the "dissemination of knowledge."

Students who choose to major in one of our departments or interdisciplinary programs will be well prepared to pursue graduate work in their particular disciplines, and our majors often serve students very well as "pre-professional" preparation, for those wishing to pursue graduate degrees in law, for example, or business, or even some aspects of the health sciences. Liberal Arts majors, too, seeking jobs immediately on completion of the bachelor's degree, are welcomed by many employers, as even a cursory examination of Fortune 500 CEO's educational backgrounds will reveal.

The College of Liberal Arts is justly proud of its Wilson Advising Center. As you begin to make your decision about which major to pursue, we encourage you to consult with Wilson Advising, and to feel very free to speak with any professor or chairperson in the College as you shape your program of study. Materials available both through Wilson Advising and on the College's web site will be very helpful to you. The COLA includes some of the very best faculty in the United States, faculty who have achieved national and international reputations, in fields ranging from Anthropology to Gender and Sexuality Studies, as a result of their published work. I am personally delighted that those faculty typically teach at both the undergraduate and graduate level, and I encourage you to take advantage of the wealth of opportunity our faculty offer at every level.

Christopher C. Hudgins
Dean, College of Liberal Arts