College Priorities Committee Guiding Principles

The College of Arts and Letters is committed to preserving, advancing and disseminating knowledge in the arts, humanities, and social sciences by instilling and nurturing intellectual curiosity and supporting scholarly and creative research within and across diverse disciplines. Through its foundational disciplines the College plays a crucial role in preparing a diverse student body for lives as responsible and engaged citizens by enhancing cultural awareness, moral and aesthetic sensitivity, ethical reflection and a love of learning.  The College prepares university graduates who are nimble, adaptable, creative, and able to respond to ever-changing global circumstances and environments. It also plays a vital role as a community of professional scholars and artists.

The College accomplishes its mission of serving a diverse student body at the University by exposing students to a core of essential knowledge which: 

  1. develops the fundamental skills of critical reading and thinking, effective oral and written communication;
  2. provides knowledge in the visual and performing arts, humanities and social sciences for all undergraduates;
  3. fosters an understanding and appreciation of the breadth and diversity of the human condition, including the roles of gender, race, ethnicity, and culture;
  4. and supports a varied array of cultural, aesthetic and educational experiences that enrich student lives and those of the academic and larger community that surrounds them.


For students enrolled in the College’s undergraduate majors and graduate programs, the College accomplishes its mission by: 

  1. offering a diverse range of discipline-specific and interdisciplinary programs of study at both the undergraduate and graduate levels that expose students to contemporary scholarly debate and innovation;
  2. providing an atmosphere for the free exchange of ideas among faculty and students true to the ideals of academic and intellectual freedom;
  3. preparing the next generation of faculty for K-12 and higher education by fulfilling our historic role in teacher preparation;
  4. promoting challenging internships, study abroad, service learning opportunities, research projects, and collaborative learning experiences that connect students with the community, preparing them for both life-long learning and the world of work;
  5. providing diverse and innovative opportunities for basic and applied research, creative and artistic expression and meaningful learning experiences;
  6. and by expanding creative activity in the arts and scholarly research in the social sciences and humanities which informs instruction at all levels and ensures that students are exposed to the most current developments across all of the College’s disciplines.


The College advances research in the social sciences and humanities and creative exploration in the visual and performing arts which:

  1. exposes students at all levels of study to the most current developments across disciplines and engages students in the research enterprise.
  2. fosters curious minds that develop informed, responsible, and productive citizens with a standard of lifelong learning.
  3. contributes intellectual and artistic expertise which responsibly influences the economic, cultural and political well-being of the Gulf  South;
  4. expands and promotes the external reputation of the university on the local, state and national levels.


The College serves as a repository of expertise, faculty members serving their community and profession as well as students by:

  1. engaging in responsible, cutting-edge research.
  2. serving as an example for lifelong learning and growth by engaging in a variety of forms of faculty development.
  3. providing for the intellectual and aesthetic fulfillment of our community.
  4. contributing to the reputation of the university as a campus of excellence in teaching and academic and intellectual freedom
  5. continuing to seek new and innovative forms of thought, creative expression, and research.