In conjunction with its 150th anniversary, the University of Minnesota's College of Liberal Arts is looking to reaffirm its campus image.
Starting in September, CLA began hosting campus events commemorating the anniversary, which will continue throughout the year. CLA administrators are hoping to reaffirm their students’ position within the University as part of a recent push to promote the value of a liberal arts education.
“In a sense, it almost is uncovering and communicating in a much better way the advantages that come from a liberal arts education,” said CLA Dean John Coleman.
In the past, Coleman said the department was subpar in communicating with students about what a liberal arts degree can be.
“We just weren’t ... doing an effective enough job of translating those stories, those life paths, into inspiring models and guidelines for students today,” said Coleman.
But in the past four years, the school has been more active in promoting the value of the liberal arts.
The college is trying to accomplish this in part by showcasing past accomplishments of its faculty and students, Coleman said. One event includes a collection of portraits featuring various students, faculty and alumni from the school.
Through the events, Coleman hopes to bring people together from the CLA programs across campus.
“We don’t have the advantage of having one building where everybody will meet, mingle and talk,” he said.
Although the college is trying to communicate better with its students, some feel CLA students are unacknowledged on campus.
“I have felt under-appreciated because there are some people who look down on liberal arts, and that’s not only in the States,” said freshman Seoyeon Bae.
CLA freshman Elise Toussaint said she believes the college’s efforts could help people be more confident in their enrollment in the school.
“I think a lot of people look at CLA and view it [as] possibly inferior to the other colleges, or [as] the college you’re put into when you don’t get placed in another college, but that’s not the case,” Toussaint said.
While the college is focusing on reaffirming its students, many see no difference between being in CLA and being in any other college at the University.
“Just because people are in CLA does not mean that they won’t get as good of a job as those in other colleges,” said freshman Bryce Huber. “It’s not the degree that makes the person, it’s what the person makes out of their degree.”