School of Liberal Arts and Sciences

The goal of a liberal arts education is to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to critically appreciate, analyze, and resolve problems—both those encountered in the classroom and in society. To achieve this, the liberal arts curriculum is designed so that students are exposed to many fields of study while they gain mastery in a single discipline. Striking the right balance between in-depth study in a narrow area and exposure to a broad array of disciplinary perspectives enhances personal and professional success. Programs are designed to provide students with the concepts and critical-thinking abilities necessary to understand, create, and communicate, as well as the requisite analytical skills to work effectively in their chosen fields of study.

Academic Organization
In the liberal arts and sciences at Purchase College, majors, interdisciplinary programs, and numerous concentrations and minors are offered by the School of Film and Media Studies, the School of Humanities, and the School of Natural and Social Sciences. Most undergraduate majors lead to the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. A Bachelor of Science (BS) degree is also available in biology, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree is offered in film. In the School of Humanities, the Master of Arts (MA) degree is offered in 20th-century art history.

Interdisciplinary Studies
Within the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, it is possible to major in one of three interdisciplinary BA degree programs: gender studies, Latin American studies, and liberal arts. Students who wish to pursue an individualized program of study that cannot be accommodated within any of the conventional majors can work with faculty members from different boards of study to create a program of study leading to the BA in liberal arts. In addition, interdisciplinary minors are available in Asian studies, gender studies, and Latin American studies.

Boards of Study
Faculty in the liberal arts and sciences are organized by boards of study—groups of faculty members in the major disciplines and, in some cases, from related fields. Boards of study assume major responsibility for the development of specific programs, the determination of program requirements, and student advising. When a student is ready to select a major, the appropriate board of study identifies a qualified advisor for the student. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the requirements of each program. New boards of study are created to shape and supervise new programs as student needs require and faculty resources permit.

Faculty
Faculty appointments in the liberal arts and sciences are made on the basis of effectiveness in teaching and dedication to undergraduate education, with attention to scholarly accomplishment and to the intellectual breadth essential to implement interdisciplinary programs. Of our full-time faculty, approximately 86 percent hold a doctorate or other terminal degree; others are award-winning authors, journalists, and filmmakers. In addition to general teaching and advising responsibilities, faculty members guide tutorials and supervise independent research projects and senior theses.

Academic Advising
All students in the liberal arts and sciences have faculty advisors and plan their semester’s work in consultation with these advisors. Students are also strongly encouraged to use the services of the Advising Center. In particular, students who have not declared their major are encouraged to meet with a Center advisor for guidance.

Administration
Suzanne Kessler, PhD, Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Ross Daly, MS, Chair, School of Humanities
Ronnie Halperin, PhD, Chair, School of Natural and Social Sciences
Michelle Stewart, PhD, Chair, School of Film and Media Studies
Richard Nassisi, MPA, Associate Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Gorton Carruth, BS, Assistant Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences


For updates during 2013–2015, please visit www.purchase.edu/departments/AcademicPrograms/las/.

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