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School of Arts and Sciences


dr slocum



2013 Spring AS Newsletter Arts and Sciences Newsletter

We offer instruction in a variety of areas, but it all takes place in a context of liberal arts education.  We don't just teach skills.  We also prepare our graduates to reflect on why they do the things they do, and how they relate to others through their work and all of their lives.  As we say in our mission statement, we seek to form critical thinkers, ethical leaders, and engaged citizens.  We encourage our graduates to engage the processes of their lives.  This is much more than narrowly training for a particular form of work, although the specifics of work are important.  It's the process of learning how to learn, and how to integrate one's values, relationships, and the deepest meanings in life into daily experience.  In a sense, it's like teaching to fish instead of giving a fish.  It's teaching to make connections between unexpected challenges or opportunities and things learned or experienced in the past.  It's as much a formative process as an informative process, although the information learned can be critical.  It can encourage creativity and the use of imagination.  It can encourage agility and adaptation in the face of situations that may be unexpected.  In other words, our graduates are encouraged to think on their feet, and use what they know as a starting point for problem-solving, decision-making or creative discovery.  It suggests a way of seeing the world and the current limits of knowledge in terms of opportunities for growth and exploration.  As Plutarch once suggested, education is meant to light a fire, not to fill a bucket.  We encourage our graduate to be lifetime learners who are always ready to listen and discover.  And (following the example of St. Dominic) they can spread that fire and light into the world!

The Rev. Robert Slocum, J.D., D.Min., Ph.D. - Dean, School of Arts and Sciences and Professor

 A&S Notes:

The School of Arts & Sciences welcomes the Berry Framing and Ecological Agrarianism Program under the direction of Dr. Leah Bayens, Chair of the Department of Earth Studies.  She states that "As a new faculty member at St. Catharine College, I found myself immediately taken into the fold of the SCC campus and community.  More importantly, SCC students, staff, and faculty-as well as neighbors and friends of the College-embraced the burgeoning Berry Farming and Ecological Agrarianism Program, based on the lifework of Kentucky native Wendell Berry, an internationally renowned farmer, writer, and activist.  SCC is partnering with the Berry Center of New Castle, Kentucky, to offer an undergraduate degree and minor in sustainable agriculture."  Dr. Bayens adds that this interdisciplinary curriculum will be offered in Fall 2013, and it will "combine the science and business of farming with the environmental arts and humanities and community leadership.  Through experiential education and internships with local farmers, entrepreneurs, artists, and educators, students will learn by doing."  She explains that "The Berry Farming Program expands the Dominican Sisters' commitment to environmental stewardship, and students will have access to the most innovative interdisciplinary approach to agricultural education in the nation."

Matt Branstetter, Chair of the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies, notes that this course on Homelessness and Issues of Faith recently had "an incredible immersion experience in Lexington."  He states that "we were paired together with fromerly homeless persons and given real life scenarios to act out.  We dressed 'down' to appear homeless and were asked to find places to eat, sleep, get prescriptions filled, etc.  It was a very powerful experience for all."  Several courses from the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies will be offered in collaboration with the Berry Farming Program, including Ecospirituality, Christ and Culture, and Applied Ethics and SocietyLocal Church History was recently approved, and it will be offered in the Spring. 

Dr. David Wallace, Chair of the History & Political Science Department, and Dr. Tara Tuttle of the English Department collaborated ot teach a special topics course this Fall semester on Women in U.S. History.  Dr. Wallace also taught a course of Myths, Lies and Black Marks in U.S. History.  He states that in some cases the history has been "white washed," and in some cases people assume things that aren't true.  "I want the students to explore the other side of the story, or at least see that there is another side."

Bob Akin, Chair of the Department of English & Foreign Languages, expressed enthusiasm for dramatic performances on campus.  Relative to these plays, he said, "I'm old fashioned enough to believe it's good to learn some poetry, to learn some lines.  That affects the later writing.  George Bernard Shaw says some really pithy, powerful lines.  You say, 'wow!' I've always wanted to say lines like that.  That's why I've always wanted to read Shakespeare."  He adds that Shakespear's soliloquies (when a character talks to himself/herself) are like "jewels in the mouth".

In addition to Dr. Bayens, new Faculty in the School of Arts & Sciences include Dr. Corey Brelsfoard in the Department of Natural Sciences and Dr. Jianning "Sam" Su in the Department of Mathematics. 


Why Arts and Sciences and why Liberal Arts?

The focus of a Liberal Arts’ degree is on interdisciplinary education. The development of a well-rounded, broad-based education has been consistently shown to be the most effective approachto achieving career goals, succeeding in advanced education and providing an overall life of satisfaction. Through the various programs offered within the School of Arts and Sciences, students learn to be creative, think critically, communicate effectively, and apply a diverse education to their everyday lives. Having a strong foundation in Liberal Arts allows students to excel in their chosen fields.  Our programs of study include:


Bachelor of Arts in English

Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts

Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts:

Bachelor of Science in Biology

Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts:

  Minors Offered:


Creative Writing




Professional Writing

Religious Studies

U.S. History 

Certificate Programs:

Certificate in Pastoral Studies