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Our History

In February 2014, the Board of Trustees approved the new School of Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Liberal Arts. Interdisciplinary programs included 442 under-graduate majors and minors and 119 graduate students, making it one of the college's largest academic areas.

The School of Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS) began with 15 interdisciplinary programs: African American Studies, American Studies, Asian Studies, Asian American Studies, Comparative Literature, Film & Video Studies, Global Studies, Jewish Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies, Linguistics, Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Peace Studies, Philosophy & Literature Ph.D. Program, Religious Studies, and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies.

Three programs - American Studies, Comparative Literature, and Linguistics - offer Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. degrees. Eleven programs offer the undergraduate major or minor. In addition to the eleven programs a minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies was offered.

With the creation of the School, Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies and Engagement, JoAnn Miller, assumed the role of head.  Associate Dean Miller had envisioned a new unit encompassing all of the interdisciplinary studies programs in the College of Liberal Arts and worked doggedly to make that vision a reality.  We lost her leadership, when she died suddenly on December 25, 2014.  Susan Curtis, a previous Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies and Engagement, served as interim head until January 2016 when Venetria Patton was selected to serve as head.

Since the school’s creation, we have continued to grow with the addition of Native American and Indigenous Studies and Critical Disability Studies as new programs as of fall 2016.