ISU College of Arts and Letters to start Liberal Arts High program for professors to visit high schools

POCATELLO – Idaho State University’s College of Arts and Letters will start a new program titled “Liberal Arts High” where professors across the humanities and social sciences will travel to area high schools and give presentations on their areas of expertise.

The program, spearheaded by Dean Kandi Turley-Ames, was first conceived by English and philosophy chair Jennifer Attebery, who had an experience in high school where a professor came to her school and impacted her future. She wanted to create this experience for students in Idaho. English Ph.D. student Diantha Smith travelled to schools in Pocatello, Rexburg, Aberdeen and Arimo to see if teachers would be interested in the program, and what they would be interested having presentations about. Turley-Ames met with superintendents, principals and other educational leaders in the area, and all received the program very well.

“Everyone was very interested in having this opportunity to have professors in their classrooms,” Smith said. “It helps Idaho students see that college is a viable, and great option for them.”

Professors from anthropology, English, history, philosophy, political science and psychology are available to speak to classes. Topics for their presentations include forensic anthropology, business writing, modern Middle East, philosophy of the mind, American politics and policy and personality judgment.

“By having professors across disciplines, we are able to highlight the liberal arts that students haven’t heard or recognized as an opportunity to learn in higher education,” Smith said.

Smith created a website where high school teachers can see which professors are available and choose topics they want presented to their classes, and then schedule a time that works best for them.

The program will also help professors in the college see how students are preparing for college, and see what stage they are at when joining college classrooms.

“There are a lot of great things going on in Idaho classrooms,” Smith said. “The more we can partner with these schools, the better.”

Liberal Arts High is set to begin sending professors to classrooms this semester. The program will set its sights on area high schools, but plan to visit high schools in the Preston, Rexburg and Salmon areas in the future.

For more information on Liberal Arts High contact Diantha Smith at smitdia3@isu.edu or 282-2478.