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 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 meeting of the Marist College Club of 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 independently or in tandem with the Marist Theatre Program, such as the production of Godspell scheduled for Spring 2015.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 gathering of faculty and students sorting through scholarly paper proposals. Last November marked the fifth time the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies hosted the Mid-Hudson River Valley Undergraduate Philosophy Conference.
- 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