Graduate Catalog 2019-2021

A Public Liberal Arts University

What is a Public Liberal Arts University?

Public liberal arts colleges and universities differ from other public higher education institutions in their size, scope and emphasis on student centered education. They do not attempt to be all things to all people, but rather focus their efforts on providing a liberal education. They offer the intimacy and intellectual atmosphere of private liberal arts colleges but do not abandon the public mandate to meet the economic workforce needs of the state. Public liberal arts universities are usually moderate in size (generally less than the equivalent of 5,000 full-time students) and focus on exemplary undergraduate teaching and student learning.

Undergraduate programs are diverse, but the majority of degrees are awarded in the fields of arts and sciences. When professional undergraduate programs are offered, they include a heavy liberal arts foundation. The limited number of graduate programs offered at the master's or doctoral level is similarly built upon a strong liberal arts undergraduate preparation and are tied to the market economy of the state.

Distinguishing Characteristics of a Public Liberal Arts University include:

Emphasis on providing the quality, values and virtues of a private liberal arts college at a lower and more reasonable cost;

A highly selected undergraduate student body with a selected number of graduate programs;

A strong emphasis on transformative, active learning experiences in and out of the classroom;

A focus on student outcomes, with particular attention to the development of:

  • strong communication skills (oral and written)
  • critical and analytical thinking skills
  • a broad understanding of global issues
  • an appreciation for diversity
  • an ability to integrate information across disciplines
  • application of knowledge
  • a foundation for making moral and ethical decisions 
  • civic responsibility.

A commitment to creating an intimate learning environment characterized by high quality student/faculty interactions through:

  • small classes
  • innovative pedagogy
  • internships and service learning experiences
  • international study experiences
  • faculty/student collaboration on scholarly/research projects
  • lectures, concerts, art shows, field experiences, and senior culminating experiences

A rich culture of traditions and rituals that link students with the University beyond graduation;

A commitment to meeting the needs of the state by producing graduates who can take their place within the workplace as leaders and thinkers;

  • Accessibility through affordability.
  • Limited number of professional and graduate master's level programs built on a liberal arts foundation.