Although the college of arts and sciences in every comprehensive university makes the claim that it is the “heart of the university,” it may be the most poorly understood academic unit. Because of its typical size, and especially the diversity of its offerings, its focus is so broad that many do not understand its history, its structure, and especially its role in the university. College of Arts and Sciences Dean Greg Simpson and Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology Jim Skibo have written a series of essays published in the Bloomington-Normal Pantagraph. The pieces discuss such topics the value of a liberal arts degree, the different perspectives offered by the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, and topics relevant to higher education in general, such as academic freedom and tenure. We invite you to read these columns, and hope that they will lead to a better understanding of the liberal arts and their role in education and society. The links to the essays are provided below.