Taking the Liberal Arts Out of the Box

In the School of Liberal Arts at Saint Mary’s College, we take the Liberal Arts out of the box: the box of stereotype that suggests the Liberal Arts are a luxury for those who can afford it, and also the boxes of classroom, semester, and campus. 

Faculty in the School of Liberal Arts take the Liberal Arts out of the box every day when they engage students in the classroom and then support them in applying and expanding their learning through meaningful internships.

We take the Liberal Arts out of the box by taking students on immersive studies into the city, the Berkeley hills, the Amazon, Cuernavaca, and Kathmandu. The Liberal Arts move out of the box when our students go from practice and rehearsal in the classroom, studio, and theatre to local, regional, national, and international stages and competitions where they shine in performance and debate

Our faculty serve as caring and committed mentors, extending their relationships with students out of the student-teacher semester-long box, and maintaining relationships with students long after graduation. We foster connections to alumni and to other potential mentors for our current and future students as well. 

We take the Liberal Arts out of the box by connecting and integrating graduate and professional education with our undergraduate majors, through articulated “4+1” programs.

We “out-of-the-box” it when our students read and discuss classical texts, perform them on stage, and use them to think critically about war, sex, and Spike Lee’s latest film.

The Liberal Arts are certainly out of the box when our students, well-read, articulate, and thinking critically, are knee-deep in social justice issues and shoulder-to-shoulder with our community partners in Concord,  Oakland and the Tenderloin. 

And the Liberal Arts are out of the box every day in classrooms, where our students themselves are truly diverse in terms of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, ability, religion, and socio-economic background. And our world-class faculty submit themselves to learn from these students, in a process of shared inquiry.

The School of Liberal Arts at Saint Mary’s College embodies the best of the Liberal Arts tradition, carried forward with imagination and innovation, and deeply engaged within and beyond the traditional text, classroom, and campus.

The traditional “ivory tower”? Not by a long shot. We’ve taken the Liberal Arts out of the box!