I would like to welcome you to the College of Arts and Sciences at Illinois State University. The ISU motto of “Gladly we learn and teach”, with apologies to Chaucer for the modernization, has always been the true north of the compass of the College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences not only comprises 16 majors and 14 interdisciplinary minors, but through humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics the College of Arts and Sciences is the foundational knowledge base from which all majors emerge. Illinois State University is known as a premier teaching institution and the liberal arts and sciences provides the foundation for each one of our Redbird students.
Gladly we teach is in our DNA at ISU, but our faculty also embrace “gladly we learn” with ground-breaking research that involves students in areas of discovery that are transformative for living in a complex, global world. A sampling of CAS Research projects include aims such as Dr. Vogel’s discoveries in immunology and how B Cells can protect against infections; Drs. Brehm, Perry, and O’Reilly’s research on water use and quality and responsible stewardship of our environment; Dr. Duriel Harris’ scholarship as the editor of Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora; and Dr. Joseph’s research on how to diagnose and treat blast-related hearing loss for people in the military and our veterans who risked life and health. The College of Arts and Sciences is an environment alive with “gladly learning.”
But you know, we are a bit special here at ISU. We not only provide a premier education for our students, we do that in so many ways that connect our students to our greater world. Community Engagement is part of our signature identity. Special projects within the College of Arts and Sciences include the Illinois Art Station, where students learn about child development by taking art into communities to interact with children who may not have exposure to creative expression. The First Star Academy integrates students from social work and other majors work with youth in foster care who engage in an Upward Bound “college-possible” type of experience, as these youth otherwise may never have imagined that college could be a dream for them. Students in our English program have the opportunity to learn about the many aspects of publishing such as design and layout, editing, marketing, graphic layout through the Publications Unit, which provides publication for several journals. Students in our physics department gain holistic learning not just in the labs and classrooms, but by producing and competing with our Solar Car. I could name so many more exciting examples.
One of our departments in the College has a framed sign in its office, which states, “It’s easy to make a buck. It is much more difficult to make a difference.” Our students in the College of Arts and Sciences go on to very rewarding, interesting, creative careers and professions to make a living. But our graduates are so much more, they make LIVES, and those are lives that make a difference. I invite you to explore our College website with the many program and opportunities and embrace your own experience to make a difference.