Message from the Dean
Welcome to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at EIU, the largest and most diverse college on our campus! The courses you take with our excellent faculty for your major, a minor, or as general education, will be the foundation for a successful career and a life fully lived!
There’s a reason the Liberal Arts & Sciences have been taught worldwide for over 2,500 years – the natural sciences explore the natural world around us; the social sciences study people and their societies and cultures; the humanities investigate and analyze people’s products, while the fine and performing arts communicate ideas and enrich our lives. These components of the Liberal Arts & Sciences work individually to teach foundations and enhance research and progress in human knowledge, and they work collaboratively to build a comprehensive foundation to graduate a well-rounded Panther!
The COVID-19 pandemic is a good example: the natural sciences (in this case mostly biology) offer an understanding of viral behavior, disease spread, risk factors, and other factual knowledge. Math assists in modeling that information. The social sciences offer an insight into risk behavior (e.g. refusal to assist in prevention efforts), underlying socio-economic conditions that increase risk and/or decrease access to health care, and the overall human and societal cost of the pandemic. The humanities analyze media strategies that help/oppose public health efforts and the arts offer multi-faceted ways to visualize information and communicate our feelings. Whichever field you select as your major, you will learn how to gather reliable data, analyze them, and assist yourself, your family and community, and maybe the world in making rational and successful decisions.
Most important, however, is the work of the Liberal Arts and Sciences toward social justice. We all want to live safe, comfortable, and enriched lives and we know that we can only really achieve that if all members of the human family have equitable access to rights and resources. The right to water may serve as an example: fresh water is the scarcest resource, it has to be distributed to everybody and should be clean and safe – for without it, we die. From studying watersheds, to microbes, to the Winters Doctrine that protects Native water rights, to Flint, MI, and other cities with racial and class differences in access to clean water, the study of water can draw in every one of the Liberal Arts & Sciences.
Regardless of which of our many majors you select as your focus (or if you are in one of the other colleges and come to us for your general education foundation), the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences allows you to acquire those skills tomorrow’s employers value most: curiosity, communication (verbal and written, in multiple languages), problem solving, willingness to learn and collaborate, global awareness and cross-cultural competency, and adaptability. And it matters not if you want to put those skills to use in Illinois or elsewhere in the world – they are portable, adjustable, and will help you reach your career and life goals.
Welcome to CLAS – we’re happy you’re here!