Dean's Message

When students and their families visit the College, I often suggest that the best way to understand the liberal arts at Marist is to take a walk around Fontaine Hall, the award-winning building that houses our school. These are the kinds of things they might encounter:

  • A faculty member in the Department of Modern Languages & Cultures coordinating the individual placement of a Spanish major for a semester’s worth of study at the Universidad de Seville in Spain. Last year, nearly 50% of Marist undergraduates studied abroad in semester-long or short-term programs.
  • A copy of the Mosaic, a literary and photovisual magazine published each semester by the Literary Arts Society, a student group of creative writers and artists. In addition to publishing student work, the club’s activities include trips to literary sites, an annual poetry slam, and on-campus readings and courses by well-known poets and novelists.

  • A poster display highlighting students' research into hunger issues in the Hudson River Valley. Students interested in human rights, social justice, and global citizenship can participate in our Center for Civic Engagement & Leadership and explore these issues through coursework that includes service learning projects in the Hudson River Valley and globally. The Center offers the Tarver Summer Fellows Program, in which students receive paid internships at nonprofit organizations and work in collaboration with a faculty member.

The variety of conversations taking place in Fontaine Hall makes the School of Liberal Arts a dynamic learning community. Close faculty and student relationships and interdisciplinary analysis, including team taught courses, are crucial to our work here. In a given semester, students might have the opportunity to take Religion and the Law with a political scientist and theologian, Blues Poetry with a poet and historian, or Environmental Literature with a literary scholar and a scientist.

Observing and participating in these kinds of dialogue in the classroom and on our campus sharpens our students’ awareness of the complexity of 21st-century problems and gives them a sense of the integrated solutions they might find for them. In fact, the new Marist Core is designed to help our students develop the "knowledge, skills, and values" that are the hallmark of the Marist College academic experience. Moreover, a wide array of service learning, internship, and study-abroad experiences prepares our students for future employment and develops their capacity to be innovative and ethically grounded leaders.

I invite you to explore our programs further by examining the diversity of materials available on our website or on our Marist School of Liberal Arts Facebook page. If you would like more information or have any questions, I encourage you to contact me.


Martin B. Shaffer, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Liberal Arts