Liberal Arts does more than you think

A Wichita State student came to academic adviser Bob Rozzelle a few years ago.

She didn’t know how to apply her varied interests to a career. Her interests were in biology and art, Rozzelle said.

“She couldn’t see how to put them together,” he said. “Now, she is a wildlife illustrator.”

“Many students come with a variety of interests,” Rozzelle said. “We try to keep them flexible.”

He said students often change majors, some up to five times before graduating. New majors are even created.

“Things come available that weren’t before,” Rozzelle said.

The Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at WSU helps students who are undecided about what major they might pursue and how to combine their interests.

Rozzelle said a concern Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) has is that students overlook the importance of general education requirements and a liberal arts education.

General education classes help students consider different points of view about problems, challenges and the core classes they will take, Rozzelle said. They are not classes to get out of the way.

“It’s an opportunity to build your foundation for everything else,” he said. “We try to help students see the fullness of academics. That’s the thing we wrestle with. Have a degree? That’s good, but it’s not sufficient.”

Logic instructor Kathy Bradfield said a liberal arts education results in acquiring practical skills not offered anywhere else. Skills include writing, speaking well and learning about personal values.

“That is a skill you take into the business world and into real life,” she said. “You learn how values are important to you and defend them. A liberal arts education will get that to you and nothing else will. Liberal arts teaches you how to be a good citizen.”

Employers want employees to come prepared to work with little or no on-the-job training, said Rozzelle.

Sergio Martinez-Villa, court liaison with the DUI Victim Center of Kansas, works with students through the WSU cooperative education program. He said students with a liberal arts education have the ability to adjust and think through a changing environment.

“It does give us a step up on educating people in the research we are doing,” Martinez-Villa said.

Other than academics, Rozzelle said LAS encourages students to join student organizations, take part-time jobs and do volunteer work. The start of a college career is the start of someone’s legacy as if a video will be posted on YouTube, he said.

“Five to 10 years from now, what do you want them to say? What do you hope to be as a person?” Rozzelle said. “It’s about learning who you are and what you’re able to contribute. General education is a foundation for those things.”

The LAS webpage, found at, can help students learn more about what they might want and need to do.

For example, the Advising Center Student Resources page provides links to fact sheets about pre-law and pre-medical; career exploration including a class about the topic; a grade-point average calculator designed to help students calculate the credits needed to improve one’s GPA; a general education check sheet and more.

The office is located in Grace Wilkie Hall. Appointments can be made by calling 978-3700. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Appointments do not need to be made for the first two weeks in August or the first two weeks in January. Rather, they are set on a first come, first serve basis strictly for scheduling classes.