Students develop artistic and humanities skills through liberal arts department

Taylor Crow, Skiatook senior, reads her textbook from her women and gender studies class. The College of Liberal Arts offers many classes based on the study of societies and the people in them.

Media over the years has played a huge role in the population’s perspective on arts and humanities degrees: numerous movies about parents wanting their children to be doctors while the children want to be artists or dancers, news articles telling of the lack of job security for liberal arts majors and the comparison of science and arts majors, implying the arts are the “easy” route through college. These things point out how often society takes advantage of those who study arts and humanities. These are the people who keep languages and cultures alive, bring entertainment to the public, and help people through social work. 

Culture is an inherent by-product of society, and it is up to those in that society to maintain and grow their culture into something unique and personal. Liberal arts provide an environment for these cultures to rise, grow, or even be reawakened. Robyn Pursley, assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said her motivation for expanding the arts was to help promote engaged members of society. She said liberal arts gives all of the tools to be able to do so. 

The liberal arts are essential to our functioning as human beings,” said Pursley.  “The ability to engage, communicate, think critically, empathize, and creatively problem-solve are all critical to our progression and growth as a society. Fields in the liberal arts provide development of these skills.”

Many students in honor societies are majors such as science, health, or law. However, there are honor students who take the humanities route. Sara Wilson, Ft. Gibson sophomore, is a media studies student in NSU’s Honors Program. She said she often hears negative things in regards to her choice in majors.

“It’s hard to hear things like ‘You’re so smart! Why are you wasting it on the arts?’" said Wilson. “I always remind them that the world would be a pretty bland, boring place without creative people.”

The misinformation of what liberal arts truly are is evident in how people treat those studying the arts. It is especially apparent if someone moves from studying science to studying English. This happened to Mackenzi Mostrom, Tulsa junior. She switched from a major in physics to a major in English. She said there was backlash from those around her, but advises others in similar situations not to be discouraged. 

“Look into careers and make sure there is something you will actually like to do in the future, but do not give up on something you love,” said Mostrom. “Do not let people who think your degree is easy get you down; I have had many people tell me that they could never do an English degree.”

Students interested in liberal arts are encouraged to discuss this with their advisor. For more information, email cola@nsuok.edu.

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