Greetings from the Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences
Welcome to the School of Arts and Sciences!
As part of its tradition of excellence, the School of Arts and Sciences is committed “to fostering academic excellence by providing a core curriculum and degree programs in the fine arts, humanities, and sciences that cultivate habits of mind in graduates who are actively engaged in scholarship, leadership, and service” (Mission Statement, April 2011). These qualities are increasingly important in preparing graduates for careers and fulfilling, engaged lives.
Recent surveys by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (2008, 2010) indicate that employers desire college graduates who not only know their fields but also have high-level skills in written and oral communication, teamwork and collaboration, critical reading and thinking, qualitative and quantitative reasoning, complex problem solving, information literacy, and a variety of technologies. In addition, employers note that practical experience and knowledge of the current global community is essential for college graduates to set themselves apart from others who are competing with them for jobs. The programs in Gwynedd Mercy University’s School of Arts & Sciences prepare students to be competitive in their fields and to succeed in a rapidly growing work environment.
The School is comprised of 4 divisions that offer 15 undergraduate programs. These programs challenge students to excel through rigorous curricula, to participate in co-curricular opportunities, and to form strong professional relationships with faculty mentors. The curriculum for each program includes courses that prepare students to succeed in careers in their disciplines, to meet the challenges of advanced study in graduate programs, and to become engaged citizens.
Our faculty is comprised of active scholars and practitioners in their respective disciplines. Dr. Stacey Lettini, assistant professor of biology, is currently engaged in a study of parasite biodiversity in with Caitlin Doherty, a senior biology major. Dr. Patrick Messina, assistant professor of philosophy, and Dr. Craig dePaulo, lecturer in philosophy, recently co-edited a book titled Augustinian Just War Theory and the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (Peter Lang, 2011). And Dr. Wayne Huss, professor of history, served as curator for an exhibit called “Rally ‘Round the Flag: Civil War Color Bearers and the Flags They Carried” at the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia during summer 2011.
Arts and Sciences programs also offer co-curricular opportunities and experiential learning through internships, study and travel abroad, and service learning. In fact, communication majors have interned with local organizations such as Millennium Radio and the Philadelphia Freedoms Tennis Team. Criminal Justice majors may enroll in the Montgomery County Police Academy through ACT 120, successful completion of which counts for 15 credits in their academic plan. And internships at Johnson & Johnson, Thomas Jefferson University, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Queen Mary University of London have provided biology majors with invaluable research and field experience. Junior communication major Rebecca Avery is currently studying abroad in London during Spring 2012, and other students in various majors will be participating in a mini-study abroad in London and Paris over the winter break as part of a joint venture between the School of Arts & Sciences and the School of Business.
In addition, students have opportunities to participate in School-related activities to enrich their experience at the University. Many programs have clubs or associations that raise awareness and promote community. For example, the Philosophy Society sponsored viewings of Groundhog's Day and Watchmen, after which students led conversation about the philosophical questions inherent in the films, and the Psychology Club and Criminal Justice Club jointly sponsored an event called Art against Abuse that raised money for domestic abuse awareness. Most disciplines also have honor societies that recognize students’ academic excellence.
The School recently instituted a Student Advisory Board (SAB) whose members serve as leaders in the School. SAB members are nominated by their program faculty to be liaisons between their peers and the dean and faculty of the School. They are responsible for communication among their student peers, the program faculty, and the dean regarding student-related issues, as well as for advising the dean on matters regarding curricular issues, co-curricular activities, and other matters that relate to student learning and career development. They also serve as a focus group for other constituents of the University. We are very proud of this inaugural Board and look forward to watching them grow in their roles as advocates, advisors, and campus leaders.
As you can see, our School is a vibrant community. Please explore our web pages and links to learn more about our academic programs, faculty, and students. We look forward to having you join us!
Lisa McGarry, Ed. D.
Dean for the School of Arts & Sciences