Liberal Arts Learning Goals

St. Catherine University is committed to the liberal arts as the broad base of learning and to the pursuit of excellence for our students.


  • Liberal arts

    What does it say?

    When St. Kate’s was founded in 1905, its curriculum was modeled on elite liberal arts colleges and universities at the time, including the University of Chicago. Majors offered then included philosophy, chemistry, art history, botany and English — to name a few — and the goals were clear:

    A liberal arts education at St. Kate’s would emphasize disciplinary breadth and depth that cultivate curiosity and forge connections among disparate arenas of knowledge.


  • The skills you need

    What it means?

    The phrase “liberal arts” is neither an expression of partisan politics nor a useless pursuit. Rather, it stems from the Latin phrase artes liberales, which means “skills for living fully and freely.”

    A liberal arts education at St. Kate’s enables you to:

    • lead and influence for ethical and responsible action, and for systemic change;
    • work well with others, especially in joint intellectual effort.
    • develop attitudes and behaviors that reflect integrity, honesty, compassion and justice in one’s personal and professional life.
    • understand and analyze the impact of diversity and systems of power and privilege on the individual and society.
    • gather, analyze and critically evaluate information to develop reasonable arguments, sound judgments and effective solutions.
    • demonstrate in-depth knowledge, values and skills in at least on major field of study and to relate disciplinary approaches to those of other fields.
    • read, write, speak, view and listen effectively.
    • inspires a love of learning.

  • Claiming education

    How are we living it?

    We live the liberal arts at St. Kate’s in the way our students claim their education at all degree levels and across disciplines, both in the liberal arts and in professional programs.

    This “Claim your education” mantra comes from Adrienne Rich, whose 1977 essay “Claiming an Education” is a popular one with our first-year students in “The Reflective Woman” (TRW) course. In the essay, she writes:

    “Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.” (p. 53, TRW core reader)

    That’s right. At St. Kate’s, you are empowered to choose for yourself!


Endowed Mission Chairs

Here are the three faculty members bringing St. Catherine University's mission to life.