College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences is a liberal arts college that is both historically and educationally the core of USD. The intellectual disciplines within Arts and Sciences assist students in developing a coherent, integrated, and rich world view. Students in the college spend their undergraduate years discovering themselves as individuals, probing the commonalities of our lives on this planet, and deepening their appreciation of the sacred. In all disciplines in the college, the meanings of life in all its forms and processes are explored. Likewise, each intellectual discipline in the college reflects a sense of community by involving students in a network of scholars. Many areas in Arts and Sciences immerse students in intensive study of the patterns of human, social, and cultural organization. In addition, all curricula in the college emphasize higher order cognition and the centrality, precision, and integrity of written and oral communication.

The intellectual vitality of arts and sciences is manifested at three levels:

  1. Exposure to the most current information on our complex social and physical worlds
  2. Cross-disciplinary integration of methods and perspectives
  3. Rigorous application through writing, research, oral communication, creative expression, and personal-career development.

Arts and sciences faculty, then, are dedicated to a cooperative effort with students to construct knowledge from information, to shape wisdom from knowledge, and to secure competence that is united with conscience and a sense of values. Success will be evidenced in a renewed wonder at life, increased self-discipline, and a more refined sense of the potential of community.


Noelle Norton, PhD, Dean

Jonathan M. Bowman, PhD, Associate Dean

Neena Din, PhD, Assistant Dean

Ron Kaufmann, PhD, Associate Dean

Perla Myers, PhD, Associate Dean

Pauline Berryman Powell, MS, Assistant Dean


Rae Anderson, PhD, Chair, Department of Physics and Biophysics

Tammy Dwyer, PhD, Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Sarah Gray, PhD, Chair, Department of Environmental and Ocean Sciences

Colin Fisher, PhD, Chair, Department of History

Erik Fritsvold, PhD, Chair, Department of Sociology

David Harnish, PhD, Chair, Department of Music

Michèle Magnin, PhD, Chair, Department of Languages, Cultures and Literatures

Michael Mayer, PhD, Chair, Department of Biology

Lynn McGrath, PhD, Chair, Department of Mathematics

Jesse Mills, PhD, Chair, Department of Ethnic Studies

Vidya Nadkarni, PhD, Chair, Department of Political Science and International Relations

Angelo Orona, PhD, Chair, Department of Anthropology

Roger Pace, PhD, Chair, Department of Communication Studies

Emily Reimer-Barry, PhD, Chair, Department of Theology and Religious Studies

Scott Ripley, PhD, Chair, Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

Abraham Stoll, PhD, Chair, Department of English

Lori Watson, PhD, Chair, Department of Philosophy

Allison Wiese, PhD, Chair, Department of Art, Architecture + Art History

Jennifer Zwolinski, PhD, Chair, Department of Psychological Sciences