Message from the Dean
I’m honored to serve as dean of WOU’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, where I lead an outstanding team of people who are committed to WOU’s mission of creating “lasting opportunities for student success through transformative education and personalized support.” Together we work toward the shared goal of serving our students, preparing them for a life that is successful in all respects—economically, civically and personally.
Here at WOU, curious people from many walks of life come together and learn in a range of settings, from classrooms to labs, studios, the library, theatre, service learning, internships and study abroad. Working collaboratively, you will learn not only from faculty but also from peers who hail from Oregon, other parts of the U.S.. and even the world. Under the guidance of learned professors who love what they do, you will become part of a vital and thriving community.
Today when we say “liberal arts,” the phrase refers not to political leanings but to the original Latin root liber, meaning “to become free.” The goal of a liberal arts education is to free our minds, deepen our intellectual understanding and expand our sense of what is possible, through the ongoing pursuit of truth. As stated by the Association of American Colleges & Universities, the purpose of a liberal education is to “empower individuals and prepare them to deal with complexity, diversity and change.”
During medieval times, a liberal arts education incorporated math and science as well as music, grammar and rhetoric. Today, WOU’s College of LAS includes a full range of academic disciplines—business, behavioral sciences, computer science, creative arts, humanities, social sciences, mathematics and natural sciences—and offers a variety of academic programs, including majors, minors and certificates. We encourage you to combine programs innovatively in ways that accommodate your personal interests and prepare you for a productive and meaningful life well beyond your college years.
With our emphasis on both breadth and depth of learning, as a student here at WOU you will gain both specific and transferable skills. Along with disciplinary expertise, you will develop your ability to think critically and creatively; engage in deep analysis and reflective inquiry; consider and incorporate multiple points of view; communicate clearly and fluently through both speech and writing; work effectively in teams; and apply ethical judgment to decision-making. You will apply the knowledge you gain in practical settings, through individualized opportunities such as service learning, internships and study abroad. Whatever course of study and field of future work you choose, you will leave WOU with the qualities most sought after by today’s employers—the very same attributes that are essential for the ongoing health, vitality and sustainability of our diverse and rapidly changing society.
WOU welcomes all students into our close-knit university community. Many here are the first in their families to attend college, carrying forward the hopes and dreams of their loved ones. No matter what your background—traditional college-age student, first-generation student, transfer or returning adult student, veteran or international student—our faculty and staff are committed to working with you one on one as you successfully complete your college degree. We’re happy to have you here, and we look forward to helping you achieve your dreams.
Dr. Kathleen Cassity
Dean, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences