Among the many conversations I’ve had in my first few months at CSU, the most memorable are those with students, faculty and alumni. Each of their stories are testaments to reaching life goals, facing challenges, and overcoming obstacles, and each shares a common theme: the value of a liberal arts education.
These conversations are particularly welcome at a time when many question the place of liberal arts in higher education and in our culture more broadly. I think it is no coincidence that we’ve reached a low point in our civic and political discourse at the same time that both funding for public higher education and the worth of the liberal arts are challenged.
For this reason, we have decided to share some of the stories of the impact of the liberal arts in this edition of the College magazine. You’ll hear from students like Economic major Lauren Bouman, who shares with us how her experiences at CSU have helped her grow as person and as a scholar. You can read how CLA faculty, like those who run the Community Literacy Center or the Public Lands History Center, use their expertise to create first-class educational experiences for their students. Students, like the Art and Ethnic Studies students profiled in this edition, who utilize those skills to reshape the campus and the world.
You’ll also see examples of the ground-breaking work of our faculty, such as Sociology’s Jeni Cross’ research on the value of music in relieving aspects of dementia, the role of Anthropology’s Jason LaBelle in uncovering the continuing legacies of indigenous people and bison in northern Colorado, and Philosophy’s Kenneth Shockley, whose research interests focus on on balancing the need for development with the need for environmental protection.
There are several stories illustrating how CLA alumni have used their skills and passions for the liberal arts to lead rich, fulfilling and successful lives. Whether providing employment for at-risk members of our community or lending knowledge developed as a successful media consultant to advance the ACT Human Rights Festival, our alumni “give back” and “pay forward” in ways that make our communities richer and stronger.
With each story it becomes clear that the College of Liberal Arts has made a real difference in the lives of our students, faculty, and alumni. I am deeply thankful to have the chance to meet so many for whom the College has played a key role in building skills, providing educational experiences and enabling life-long friendships.