The Department of Liberal Studies is an interdisciplinary humanities department. The department’s mission is to support excellent interdisciplinary programs for teaching, learning, and scholarship in the humanities. The department meets this mission through its GUR courses, its B.A. Humanities majors, its minors, by administering the Student-Faculty Designed Major in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and by participation in interdisciplinary programs of other departments and centers in the university.
Through the B.A. Humanities degree programs, the department prepares students to engage in individual scholarship in the humanities. Students learn to define problems, to analyze texts and works of art, and to evaluate and use multiple methods of inquiry. In small seminars students are taught to lead discussions and to do independent research. Most programs require a substantial senior paper. Students acquire skills which are broadly applicable to professional careers and graduate education.
Gifts to the Department of Liberal Studies are crucial in helping us fund guest speakers, including our annual distinguished speaker, a tradition now in its tenth year, as well as our Alumni Weekend & Scholars Week Symposium (formerly Back2Bellingham), in addition to student research opportunities and, most importantly, scholarships.
Meagan Elizabeth Smith Memorial Scholarship for Excellence in the Humanities
This scholarship honors the legacy of Meagan Elizabeth Smith (1993 - 2015). An outstanding student, Meagan was scheduled to graduate with departmental honors in December 2015, with a Humanities major, a concentration in Religion and Culture, and a German minor. She had developed a particular interest in non-Western societies, and especially in Nepal, which inspired the senior thesis she was researching on “Making Sense of Fierce Deities in Indian Religions.” Meagan was a member of the first Liberal Studies Leadership Team, a musician, and an athlete, dedicated to serving the many communities of which she was a cherished part. This is the first named scholarship in the more than forty-year history of the Liberal Studies Department, designed to recognize academic excellence in the humanities.