About the College of Arts & Sciences

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Purpose

The purpose of the College of Arts and Sciences is to provide quality education in the liberal arts and sciences, as well as a select group of high quality professional and pre-professional programs. Therefore, the academic emphasis in the College of Arts and Sciences is on the traditional arts and sciences subjects, particularly those with special relevance to Hawaii.

Educational Philosophy

The College of Arts and Sciences offers students a diversified and quality liberal arts curriculum which combines a traditional nature with the flexibility to meet the needs of every student.

The purpose of this traditional, yet flexible, liberal arts curriculum is to provide students with an opportunity to achieve a common basis for intellectual discourse so that they will be prepared to meet the demands of both profession and citizenship. Accordingly, students in the College receive an education which enables them to:

  1. Communicate in both the written and spoken media with precision and cogency;
  2. Think critically and engage in reasoned discussions about complex issues;
  3. Understand major historic and philosophical concepts, and scholarly, literary and artistic accomplishments of the past and present;
  4. Comprehend the physical universe, our own and other societies, the mathematical and experimental methods of the natural sciences, and the qualitative and quantitative methods of the social sciences; and
  5. Achieve a depth of understanding and competence in a specific field of knowledge.

Instructional Methods

The College employs a wide variety of instructional methods in order to implement the educational philosophy stated above. Experimentation with new pedagogical techniques that show promise of being effective is encouraged. At the College students will encounter instruction in such forms as:

Lectures in both lower and upper division courses. Every effort is made to limit the size of classes to allow for student-teacher discourse and to minimize student anonymity in the classroom. Where appropriate, lecture classes are complemented by audio-visual techniques that enrich and enhance the learning process.

Laboratory courses which provide educational experience in the design, conduct, and analysis of research in real and simulated settings. These courses, which are usually adjuncts to lecture classes, also offer opportunities for the student to develop skills in observations, data collection, problem-solving, interpretation, and working effectively in small teams.

Seminars , which are an important part of the instructional process because they provide an opportunity for students to study in their major fields of interest at an advanced level and in small groups. Seminars are used primarily in upper division courses, but where appropriate, this format is also used in the lower division.

Independent study and the senior thesis. These provide an opportunity for students to pursue knowledge in an area of particular interest under the supervision of an instructor. Such study is of a specialized nature, and, thus, it is limited to those students who have sufficient background in the field to benefit from independent inquiry.

Field trips, which introduce students to real situations outside of the classroom. These trips are particularly valuable in those areas of study that relate to the physical and cultural environment and the major research facilities on the island.

Internships and practica, whose importance to the instructional process comes from the bridge they form between the classroom and the outside world. These methods provide students with opportunities to apply the knowledge and techniques acquired in the classroom. By placing students in the community, they also serve as a means of strengthening the relationship between the College and the community.