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 meeting of the Marist College Council on the Theatre Arts taking place in our Black Box Theatre. Boasting over 90 members and run by students, MCCTA is one of the oldest clubs at Marist and stages several productions a year, such as the Children's Theatre production of Treasure Island scheduled for this spring.
- A student consulting with a professor in the History Department about a project based on the wartime letters of Eleanor Roosevelt. With the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum just three miles away, our students enjoy the opportunity to perform original archival research about a pivotal time in American history.
- A poster display highlighting students’ research into global poverty. Students interested in human rights, social justice, and global citizenship can participate in our Praxis Program and explore these issues through coursework that includes service learning projects and hands-on work in the Hudson River Valley and globally, including programs in Haiti and India.
- 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, over 40% of Marist undergraduates studied abroad in semester-long or short-term programs.
- A gathering of faculty and students sorting through scholarly paper proposals. This March will mark the third time the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies will host the Mid-Hudson Valley Undergraduate Philosophy Conference.
- An exhibit of paintings commemorating Revolutionary War events taking place in the area. The Hudson River Valley Institute, housed in Fontaine, publishes The Hudson River Valley Review and offers students a variety of internship and service opportunities.
- 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 workshop led by the Department of Political Science for students interested in working at the Marist Institute for Public Opinion or interning through Marist's Albany Internship Experience, American University’s Washington Semester Program, or the Hansard Scholars Programme, in which students experience British politics through coursework and internships in the British Parliament.
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