About the College

Dean Debra Moddelmog

Message from Dean Debra Moddelmog

The College of Liberal Arts encompasses the disciplines of the humanities and social sciences, as well as the School of the Arts and the School of Social Research and Justice Studies. It also is a key partner in exciting interdisciplinary programs such as Gender, Race, and Identity; Neuroscience; Cybersecurity; Cinema and Media Studies; and four dual majors with the College of Education. With over 3500 undergraduate majors, 500 graduate students, 250 faculty members, and 45 staff members, the College of Liberal Arts plays a key role in the education of all undergraduate students at the University of Nevada, Reno, and provides over 20 majors for undergraduates and an equal number of degree paths for graduate students.

In addition, we are growing, adding more opportunities, personnel, and facilities to support the needs and aspirations of our diverse student population. For example:

  • We have added new majors, such as Dance. In the near future, we will introduce majors in Gender, Race, and Identity; Musical Theatre; and Graphic Design; and we are working on a Spanish for the Professions minor.
  • We have added faculty. We've hired around 40 new faculty members in the past two years, and will hire 25 more this year. This growth ensures that students have more opportunities to learn in intimate classroom settings from some of the most accomplished scholars, teachers, and creative artists in the world.
  • We have hired new staff to assist students. For instance, in the past two years, we have welcomed three new advisers to our Student Advising Center. We will soon hire a Student Engagement and Experiential Learning Coordinator to assist Liberal Arts students with their transition to college life through our Liberal Arts FIT program and with their transition to the world of work or creative activity by setting up exciting internships so that our students will have on-the-job learning experience before graduation.
  • We are opening up spectacular new facilities. Lincoln Hall (once a men's dorm on campus) is newly renovated for our departments of History, Sociology, and Communication Studies. Thompson Hall, also recently renovated, is home to our department of Political Science; our Core Humanities and Gender, Race, and Identity programs; and our Student Advising Center. A particular point of pride is our new University Arts Building, currently under construction and set to open in Fall 2018. This 40,000 square foot building will feature a 287-seat recital hall with state-of-the-art acoustics, an accredited art museum, an electroacoustic lab, a recording studio, a fabrication lab, and soundproof recital space. Whether students study the arts or simply appreciate them, this building will provide an amazing setting for both activities.

A liberal arts education emphasizes inquiry, discovery, and openness to new ideas and perspectives. Through intensive study of a major field and broad exposure to other disciplines, students in the College of the Liberal Arts develop intellectual curiosity, research skills, a historically and critically informed understanding of the diversity of our nation and world, and the ability to define and solve complex problems. We help to develop democratic citizens of the world, lovers and creators of the arts, and the next generation of innovative thinkers. More practically, today's students may expect to change occupations several times over their lifetime; and occupations will themselves disappear due to automation or transform into new types of work requiring different sets of skills and knowledge acquisition. In this context, students will need to learn a variety of subjects and skills, including technological skills, but also skills that involve learning to communicate skillfully, how to be creative and mentally agile, how to think critically, and how to work well with a diverse group of people. Given the state of the future world of work, it is not surprising that those who study employment trends are recommending a liberal arts education and/or major as the best preparation for long-term professional success. As the managing editor of Talent Economy puts it: "Skills rooted in creativity, critical thinking and human interaction are likely to see new life in the age of automation and artificial intelligence."

For more predictions of this kind, see:

Liberal Arts: We Make Better Futures