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Whitworth to be represented at July 19 statewide meeting on liberal arts education

July 18, 2012

Noelle Wiersma, newly appointed as dean of Whitworth University’s College of Arts & Sciences, will represent Whitworth at the Liberal Arts Washington meeting on July 19. Academic leaders from more than 60 institutions across the state will gather at The Evergreen State College, in Olympia, to build a coalition that promotes the value of a liberal arts education.

“These are important matters for Whitworth as we seek to elevate the status of the liberal arts as called for in our strategic plan,” Wiersma says. “I know that many Whitworth graduates have benefitted from the wisdom, richness, and adaptability that a liberal arts education affords. Study of the liberal arts and sciences cultivates a certain way of being that is open to ideas and yet analytic and critical in thinking. This matches well with Whitworth’s mission, to develop the life of the mind while engaging important societal issues within a context of genuine openness to ideas and serious commitment to the Christian faith.”

Educational leader and Washington State Rep. Mary Helen Roberts (D) will give the meeting’s keynote address. After her speech, attendees will break into small groups to discuss ways for liberal arts schools to create outreach strategies.

Michael Zimmerman, academic vice president and provost of The Evergreen State College, says the meeting will re-emphasize the research-supported and obvious role that the liberal arts play in today’s world.

The Whitworth University College of Arts & Sciences

The university established the Whitworth College of Arts & Sciences to bear the primary responsibility for providing an education grounded in the liberal arts and sciences and committed to the integration of faith and learning. This education seeks to develop intellectual, relational, and professional skills and to foster a faithful response to God, to cultivate individual character, to work for just relationships with others, and to demonstrate responsible care for the creation. Over the next decade, Wiersma will collaborate with faculty to accomplish these outcomes for students.

The college consists of 122 faculty, supports the general education of students for the entire undergraduate program, and offers 41 majors in art, biology, chemistry, communications, English, health sciences, history, kinesiology, math & computer science, modern languages, music, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, sociology, theatre, and theology. In addition, the college is also home to Whitworth's innovative interdisciplinary programs including the U.S. Cultural Studies Program, the Women and Gender Studies Program, and the Core Worldview Program.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Noelle Wiersma, dean of Whitworth University’s College of Arts & Science, (509) 777-4874 or

Andrea Idso, interim public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or