Department of Liberal Studies to Change Name in Fall

by Hillary O'Connor, Office of Communications and Marketing Intern

Western’s Department of Liberal Studies will change its name to the Department of Global Humanities and Religions starting this fall.

The department offers interdisciplinary humanities courses and programs; in those, it primarily engages in cultural history and in the academic study of religion as an aspect of human societies and cultures, and wants to communicate this more effectively to the community at Western.

“We hope that this change helps clarify our mission as a department,” Liberal Studies Chair Kimberly Lynn said. “We want to communicate more clearly the department’s global reach. We have courses that range from ancient to modern, that cover most of the globe, and we have professors doing research in 20 different languages and research on four continents.”

Along with the department’s name change, the courses offered will also be given new prefixes. Courses previously labeled as liberal studies or, LBRL, will now be considered either humanities, HUMA, or religion, REL.

The name change was inspired by a series of conversations with tenure-line faculty. Alumni and current students were surveyed, and conversations were had with retired professors and other departments that have gone through similar changes. Informal conversations with current students were also had in order to gain more perspective on the name change.

Current Liberal Studies student Caitlin Hanson said the upcoming changes more clearly lay out what the department’s focus really is.

“As a student I am most looking forward to clarity within the department and throughout campus regarding what it is that we do,” Hanson said. “The name change expresses that global aspect much more clearly and I hope it will lead to departmental growth.”

The Department of Global Humanities and Religions offers two BA options, one in Humanities: History of Culture and one in Religion and Culture.  It also offers Minors in the same two areas as well as in Arabic and Islamic Studies.

For more information about the name change or the department’s focus, contact Kimberly Lynn at

Friday, May 31, 2019 - 10:35am