College of Arts and Sciences

Herbert A. Medina, Ph.D., dean

Lawrence S. Larsen, M.F.A., academic associate dean

Laura A. McLary, Ph.D., academic associate dean

Edward J. Valente, Ph.D., academic associate dean

TBD, Ph.D., associate dean for students

Introduction

The College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Portland offers bachelor of arts degrees or bachelor of science degrees in 26 majors and 25 minors through 15 departments. Graduate programs are offered in Communication Studies and Theater.

Many students within the College or in one of the professional schools choose to enrich their educations or to prepare for their chosen careers by obtaining a double major or minor. Over 50 percent of students in the College study abroad, and many participate in faculty-sponsored research projects, internships, or service learning.

Faculty in the College are reflective teachers, who continually seek ways to improve their teaching while maintaining an active agenda of research and scholarship. Each faculty member advises students, serving as a mentor and model for the students' progress in study and preparation for a life of service and leadership. Advisors in pre-law and pre-health assist students who are preparing for careers in those professions.

The College supports the Learning Commons with peer tutors for English, mathematics, international languages, public speaking, natural sciences, and group work strategies, and encourages student involvement through clubs sponsored by each department and through the College’s Student Leadership and Advisory Council. Faculty in mathematics and natural sciences are active participants in the University of Portland's STEM Center, and faculty members throughout the College lend their expertise to the activities of the Garaventa Center for Catholic Intellectual Life and American Culture, the Franz Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation, and the Dundon-Berchtold Institute. 

Each year the English department sponsors the Northwest Undergraduate Conference in Literature (NUCL) and the History department publishes its award winning journal, Northwest Passages. All students at the University of Portland are welcome to audition for plays, to sing in the chorale, or to play in musical ensembles. All are invited to join the prize-winning debate team or to compete in Mock Trial.

Three programs in the College are externally evaluated: Music (NASM), Theater (NAST), and Social Work. The other programs conduct program reviews every seven years in addition to yearly self-assessment. The College as a whole is assessed by the Northwest Association of Colleges and Universities as part of the University of Portland’s periodic assessment.

Mission

The College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Portland follows in the long tradition of the liberal arts. We value integrative education, scholarship, and creative work that transform our world, our communities, and ourselves. 

An intrinsic component of a Catholic university, the College fosters personal development of students, faculty, and staff by exploring how knowledge helps shape our world for the better through the integration of faith and reason.

In response to fundamental issues of the twenty-first century, the College promotes interdisciplinary engagement amidst the breadth of disciplines that comprise the humanities and the natural and social sciences. We affirm that the world is our classroom and that the liberal arts provide tools for understanding the complexities of human culture as well as resources and opportunities for encouraging wonder about the universe.  

Faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences engage integrative learning through active teaching, faculty-mentored research, ethical and intellectual formation, and the creative and performing arts. We empower students to become responsible decision-makers and ethical citizens able to discern, appreciate, and protect the common good. Foundational experiences here prepare graduates of the College to lead productive lives of inquiry, service, and introspection as agents of compassion and change. 

College Requirements

The undergraduate programs are designed to build on the University’s core curriculum to educate students so that they will make contributions to the world guided by concerns for issues of justice and ethical behavior. In addition to the University core, the college requires courses in communication and metaphysics.


Effective Communication

The CAS core communication requirement helps students learn to explain and, in some courses practice aloud, how people use communication to exert influence, acquire knowledge, create identities, and foster relationships through written or oral communication.


Metaphysics

Metaphysics is the study of the most basic and general features of reality and our conceptions of them. In the courses that fulfill the metaphysics requirement, PHL 330-339, students critically examine the ideas and traditions of western civilization, further preparing students to critically and thoughtfully engage the core questions: Who am I? Who am I becoming? Why am I here? Who or what is God? How can one relate to God? Among the topics studied in the various courses that fulfill the metaphysics requirement are:

  • The nature and existence of God
  • Free will and determinism
  • The nature of Being
  • Personal identity over time
  • The mind/body problem
  • The immortality of the soul