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Defining the future of the School of Arts & Sciences

The School of Arts and Sciences is central to the liberal arts education that is both a hallmark and strength of the University of Rochester. The academic principles guiding the School were—and still remain—the foundation and heart of the educational mission of University.

These principles involve sparking curiosity, a thirst for knowledge, a drive to conduct research of global consequence and a full appreciation for all domains of study. One of the most exciting aspects of higher education today is the blurring of lines between the disciplines. Our faculty and students are interested in broad areas of inquiry, more collaborative than ever, and increasingly inter- and multi-disciplinary as they pursue important work that aims to change and improve the world.

Appreciating the intersection of studies in multiple disciplines is the defining principle that brings us together. Our faculty and students consider society’s largest questions, ones of global inquiry that explore what it means to exist—simply or as part of or within a society. These lines of inquiry span molecular, cognitive, philosophical, and ethical parameters. Our responsibility is to create an environment where inquisitive, creative, and entrepreneurial people can develop and thrive.

An enhanced, collaborative approach to a liberal education—one where traditional disciplinary boundaries and divisional silos are dissolving—presents an exciting opportunity for us as a school. We can lead the movement toward more interactive and cross-disciplinary studies at Rochester and beyond.

The recently created Humanities Center is a perfect illustration of this. While the center is a School of Arts and Sciences initiative, it is open to the entire University, welcoming humanists from all backgrounds. We have expanded what one might initially think of as faculty involved in the center, and have affiliates from diverse departments such as mathematics.

This is just one example of how our faculty extend themselves to think broadly and collaboratively. In addition, new avenues of study—including data science, digital media studies, and computational linguistics—clearly illustrate the breadth and depth of cross-disciplinary thinking and activity in the School of Arts and Sciences.

This is who we are and this is our future as a cohesive, formative, and central part of the University, helping to further the idea—and ideal—of one University.

As dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Gloria Culver handles matters relating to the arts and humanities, social sciences, and natural and physical sciences departments and programs.

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