Welcome to the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies!
If you don’t find what you’re looking for on our website, please email me or anyone else involved with this exciting new offering, and we will respond to you in detail. I am extremely pleased that we are able to offer this degree, which represents a major step forward for teaching, learning, and scholarship in Mississippi. As you peruse this website, I hope you will agree with me that we have created an extraordinary opportunity for interdisciplinary study in the heart of the Delta, and if you are already familiar with our region, you will know that this is not an unexpected development. We have long been teaching and researching cutting-edge themes and disciplinary questions in the social sciences and humanities, and the faculty members of our two divisions include accomplished scholars and teachers in subjects as diverse as the Delta blues, Jane Austen, the Jim Crow South, and land use conflict in Latin America. Together we comprise a diverse group of historians, philosophers, literary theorists, sociologists, geographers, political scientists, English and Romance language specialists, theater and journalism professors, experts in communication studies, and others. In addition, we have close ties to noted Delta State centers for excellence such as the Center for Community and Economic Development, the Madison Center, and the Delta Center for Culture and Learning
We share a passion for the common goals of the Liberal Arts curriculum, which is at the very core of the Western university. Without the liberal arts, the modern university would not be worthy of its name. Retired Dartmouth president James Freedman had this to say: “A liberal education is what teaches people how to write and how to think and makes them much more valuable in the job market over a 40-year career than graduates of a pre-professional program" (Rimer, S. [2003, February 19], ‘Justifying a Liberal Arts Education in Hard Times’, New York Times, p. B7). And no less of a luminary than Albert Einstein is reported to have said that "it is not so very important for a person to learn facts. For that he does not really need a college. He can learn them from books. The value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks" (Philipp Frank, ‘Einstein: his life and times’, 2002, Da Capo Press).
The MALS degree is a truly integrative and transformative experience in which students and professors alike learn and grow not only from engaging with concepts in our own areas of specialty, but also through the synergies that occur when we interact with and are challenged by people and ideas in other fields. This interdisciplinarity is at the heart of the MALS, and is the standard by which our success is judged. We invite you to join us, and to encourage others as well, as we begin our first year in August 2012.
Dr. Mark Bonta