College of Liberal Arts


You are here

CLA staff

The College of Liberal Arts nurtures the human capacity to learn from the past, understand the present, and shape the future. Through scholarship, teaching and public outreach in the humanities and social sciences, we are preparing students for creative leadership and global citizenship.

Department of American Indian Studies

American Indian Studies department is continuing a robust four-decade legacy in which active scholars serve to educate about tribal sovereignty, indigenous cultures, and the historical and contemporary experiences of Native peoples and nations. In addition to building strong relationships with Tribes within our geographic area, we work to fulfill our responsibility to all Native nations through consultation, partnerships, and research.

Department of Communication

The Communication Department strives to provide a comprehensive communication education that combines traditional theoretical foundations with modern applied skills. Our diverse faculty teaches a wide range of courses within the areas of interpersonal communication, rhetoric, persuasion, media, organizational communication, technology and public speaking.

Department of English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies

The English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies Department provides students with the background and critical skills necessary to understand the humanities, and to contribute to its project of defining and improving the human condition through the study of language, literature, visual and performing arts, and history.  This department is also committed to teaching, research, and service in writing, rhetoric, and linguistics, and provides instruction in and encourages the development of student competence in understanding rhetorical situations and writing in all media.

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

The Foreign Language and Literatures department strives to foster an understanding of, and the ability to use and operate within, languages and cultures from around the world.   We currently offer language courses in Spanish, French, German, Russian and Chinese as well as culture courses taught in English. Our department is also come to the Cultural Entrepreneurship program.  Moreover, we make our courses available to other programs across the campus which require or recommend us to their own students.       

Department of Geography, Urban, Environment and Sustainability Studies

The Geography, Urban, Environment and Sustainability Studies Department (GUESS) provides students with an understanding of human relationships to the environment.  Currently we offer majors in Geography, Urban and Region Studies, Environment and Sustainability Studies, and Geographic Information Systems.  We are also home to the Center of Sustainable Community Development, the Sustainable Agriculture Project (UMD Farm) and Victus Farm.

Department of History

The study of history is vital to a liberal arts education in providing a holistic approach to knowledge; it broadens students' understanding of commonality and diversity, development of cultures, and drama of human experience. While focusing on the past, it also helps students understand the present and provides a strong foundation for the future. It prepares students for careers that demand analytical and communication skills, critical thinking, and cultural breadth. These careers include law, business, journalism, teaching, government, and the ministry. We currently offer majors concentrations in five geographical areas (Africa, East Asia, Europe, the Middle East and United States) and three chronological periodizations (Ancient, Pre-Modern, and Modern).

Department of Philosophy

Studying Philosophy prepares students to become involved citizens and to work at a variety of careers in a conceptually and morally complex world. The Philosophy Department sponsors regular colloquia and informal philosophy discussion groups, and is also home to the Center for Ethics and Public Policy.

Department of Political Science

Political Science is the study and evaluation of government, politics and public policies. Students of political science are not necessarily those who are enthusiastic about government, but those who appreciate the importance of politics and government in determining what happens to us. From birth certificates and college loans to war and peace, the role of government affects us throughout our lives.

Department of Sociology-Anthropology

The Sociology-Anthropology Department offers majors in anthropology, criminology, and sociology and offers minors in African and African American studies, anthropology, cultural studies and sociology. Unifying themes in our program include inequality, identity, power, social change and development, and global multiculturalism. The department's programs are intellectually exciting and socially relevant. Students in these programs are provided civic engagement and service learning opportunities.

Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies is the interdisciplinary study of women's roles, experience, expression, and lives nationally and transnationally, as well as the study of the intersectionality of gender with race, class, sexuality, nation, religion, ethnicity, ability, and age. With liberation, justice, and equity issues as central concerns; Women's Studies engages in scholarly feminist inquiry both of the knowledge generated by other academic disciplines, and of societal institutions and processes, and explores the possibilities of feminist transformation of these.

Center for Sustainable Community Development

Sustainable Agriculture Project Farm

Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) was formed in 2009 to institute education, research, and regional engagement around community food and agriculture systems in the western Lake Superior bioregion. SAP is comprised of fifteen acres at UMD's Research and Field Studies Center just five miles from the UMD main campus on Jean Duluth Road. SAP includes a five-acre trial seeding apple orchard and a ten-acre organic (transition) farm; and works on a variety of food and agriculture projects in the region.

Center for Ethics and Public Policy

The Center for Ethics and Public Policy promotes discussion and understanding of ethics and policy issues. The center fulfills its mission primarily through organizing public programs. The programs aim to be balanced and represent a diversity of views, especially through panel discussions involving the UMD and regional community.

Royal D. Alworth Institute for International Studies

The Royal D. Alworth, Jr. Institute for International Studies was established in 1987 by the Alworth family to commemorate the life and interests of Royal D. Alworth, Jr. In line with those interests, the Alworth Institute aims to engage students, staff and the wider public in open discussion, for educational, social and democratic purposes, of a wide range of international issues and of their domestic implications.