College of Liberal Arts
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Welcome to the College of Liberal Arts

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Since the earliest beginnings of the university tradition the liberal arts, together with the sciences and mathematics, have constituted the core of higher learning. Systematic inquiry and the creative expression of new knowledge underpin every aspect of our self-awareness, our interaction with others, and our sense of place in a dynamic world.

In the College of Liberal Arts you may choose from more than thirty undergraduate and graduate programs. Some represent long traditions in the academy, while others have developed more recently as the college strives to meet the demands and expectations of modern society.

The liberal arts instill a passion for learning tempered by systematic systems of reasoning that make the growth and expression of knowledge an open and ever-changing process, while maintaining our commitment to the democratic, multicultural and civil society required to sustain that process. Research as active learning is at the heart of the liberal arts tradition.

Knowledge and awareness are worth little unless they are effectively communicated, shared, or creatively expressed. Our college offers a wide range of training in those processes through communication, creative writing, art, music, theatre, journalism, film studies and foreign languages.

The social sciences and humanities offer broad and time-tested frames of reference for the flood of information facing every member of our knowledge-based society. Anthropology, history, political science and sociology offer the means to comprehend the human condition and sustainability of its almost limitless variation over time and space. Literature, philosophy, and the study of ideas offer tremendous enrichment, alternative formulations of life, and test beds for the ideas each of us brings to the conversation. Psychology opens the door to human behavior and linguistics to the communication capacity that most clearly defines humanity. Women’s studies offers many innovative approaches to the study of gender issues.

Our college is committed to the study, preservation, and continued vitalization of the culture and self-determined heritage of Alaskans whose ancestors came to this land thousands of years ago. The Alaska Native Language Center is one of the oldest research units in the university. Programs devoted to arts and culture also contribute to this important goal. Cross-cultural studies opens the door to globalization of these efforts through connections with other First Nations’ programs around the world. For all of us, our program in Northern Studies provides flexible and interdisciplinary programs of study in many phases of life in the circumpolar North.

Finally, our college values and encourages engagement and community service. Programs in justice, social work and behavioral health training underscore this commitment.

Research-based learning is crucial to developing the skills of inquiry and discovery. Graduate and undergraduate students in all of our disciplines are encouraged to participate in research and creative scholarship. Opportunities exist for students to pursue their own unique research or to participate in the research of others.

Whether you find your way to the College of Liberal Arts through a degree program, through our broad support of the Core Curriculum, or through some other pathway in your individual learning experience, we welcome you as a learner and contributor.

photo of CLA Dean Todd Sherman
CLA Dean Todd Sherman, UAF photo by Todd Paris
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Photo by Tia Tidwell
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