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ASU unveils new School of Letters and Sciences

September 06, 2007

ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus has a new school on the block.

The School of Letters and Sciences offers a core of liberal arts classes and a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. The new school provides instruction in humanities, social sciences and natural sciences for Downtown Phoenix campus students.

“We are invested in the development of integrated coursework for students in the College of Nursing & Healthcare Innovation, the College of Public Programs, and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication,” says Frederick C. Corey, School of Letters and Sciences director. “The school will continue to advance interdisciplinary inquiry and offer the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) degree.”

With the school’s location in the center of the city, opportunities are unparalleled for community partnerships that enhance student engagement. There also are opportunities for bridge programs, curriculum formation and academic enrichment that are relevant to the area.
“Community partnerships that are underway include ‘Science Outreach’ with Phoenix Union High School District and ‘Spanish in the Public Sector’ with the City of Phoenix,” Corey says.

Potential partnerships include collaborations with downtown museums, school districts and other organizations.

“Downtown Phoenix is experiencing a renaissance, and the School of Letters and Sciences is positioned well to leverage its locale and become a full participant in the rebirth of downtown Phoenix,” Corey says.

Among the school’s goals for faculty and staff are to help students graduate in four years by tracking classes needed for their degree; collaborating between academic advising and teaching; tutoring and mentoring; and creating instructional communities that bring students, faculty, advisers and tutors together.

Letters and Sciences faculty and staff also will form strategic partnerships within ASU, with community organizations and with national associations to create sustainable and substantive academic programs on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus. The School of Letters and Sciences partners with the School of Computing and Informatics, Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness, College of Teacher Education and Leadership, and Barrett, the Honors College.

“Through these partnerships, students are given opportunities to participate in academic success initiatives, studies in business administration, Teach for America and access to intellectually and socially vibrant learning environments,” Corey says.

Faculty members will incorporate interdisciplinary endeavors in their pursuits by working with others representing a varied academic spectrum from chemistry to microbiology and from Spanish to English composition. Future plans call for the addition of communication, psychology and other high-demand majors to the school.

“As a relatively small school, the crossing of intellectual boundaries and borders is not difficult to accomplish, and the results benefit students as well as faculty,” Corey says. “Social, cultural, scientific and global problems are not often discipline specific, and through interdisciplinary inquiry, faculty and students are able to make intellectual connections between and among ideas and address complex issues from multiple perspectives.”

Located on the third floor of University Center on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, the School of Letters and Sciences employs 30 full-time faculty, 10 staff members and seven academic advisers during fiscal year 2008. The school hires between 15 and 20 faculty associates each semester to cover classes as needed, Corey says.