College of Arts and Sciences

Case Western Reserve University's College of Arts and Sciences combines a history of educational excellence with a commitment to innovation and discovery. Building on a 191-year-old tradition, the college traces its origins to several predecessor institutions, including Adelbert College, Flora Stone Mather College, Cleveland College, Western Reserve College, and Case Institute of Technology.

Today, the college offers educational and research programs in the arts and humanities, mathematics and natural sciences, and social sciences. It comprises 21 academic departments and 33 interdisciplinary programs and centers.

Brief History

Western Reserve College, the earliest of our predecessor institutions, was founded in 1826 in Hudson, Ohio, about 26 miles southwest of Cleveland. In 1882 the college moved to Cleveland, where it formed the basis for Western Reserve University. The institution expanded to include several professional and graduate schools in addition to its liberal arts programs. It also served as a magnet for other artistic, cultural, educational, medical, and scientific organizations, now its neighbors in the extraordinary setting known as University Circle.

Central to the heritage of the college are the traditions of the programs that preceded it: Adelbert College, as the men’s undergraduate unit of Western Reserve University was known after the move to Cleveland; Flora Stone Mather College, initially founded in 1888 as the Cleveland College for Women; and Cleveland College, founded in 1925 in downtown Cleveland to serve part-time and adult students. These three units, each with a distinguished history of scholarship and achievement, were brought together in 1972 under the revived name of Western Reserve College. The college took its present form in 1992, when undergraduate and graduate programs and research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences were united with those in the physical sciences to form the College of Arts and Sciences.

Since the early 19th century, the college and its predecessors have participated in important developments in higher education. Examples include:

Engagement in issues of social justice. Western Reserve College’s early years in Hudson saw debates between two groups, each opposing slavery. Colonizationists believed that liberated slaves should be resettled in Africa; abolitionists did not favor such a policy. After long and bitter conflict, supporters of the abolitionist movement carried the day.

Emergence of science. The college in Hudson was home to early and distinguished programs in astronomy and mathematics. Later, in 1887, Professor Edward Morley collaborated with Professor Albert Michelson of the Case School of Applied Science in a series of experiments that remain among the most significant in the history of physics.

Education of women. In the 1850s, the college’s Cleveland-based Department of Medicine awarded six of the first seven medical degrees granted to women in this country. The founding of the College for Women in 1888 was only the second instance of a separate “coordinate” college for women at a major university.

Demographic and technological change. Following World War II, enrollment in Cleveland College swelled with returning veterans. During this period, the introduction of new technologies and fields of study drove increasing demand for advanced education and research in a wide range of disciplines.

Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduates in the college can choose a major or minor from almost 60 programs, design their own courses of study, or enroll in integrated bachelor’s/master’s degree programs. The university offers great flexibility to students wishing to pursue double majors in disparate fields, such as physics and studio art. In addition, students from all fields are eligible to participate in the college’s vibrant performing arts programs, including music and dance ensembles.

Beyond their course work, students are encouraged to conduct independent research within the college, in other units of the university, or in the scientific and cultural institutions of University Circle. They also have opportunities to engage in service learning projects and internships in research institutions, businesses, cultural institutions, and governmental agencies. With funding from the college’s Experiential Learning Fellowship programs, undergraduates may design and carry out ambitious research projects in Cleveland or across the globe.

Graduate Programs

The college’s graduate offerings include doctoral programs in 19 fields and several distinctive master's programs. Through a partnership with Cleveland Play House, the Department of Theater has created one of the nation’s preeminent Master of Fine Arts programs in acting. The Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Program (STEP) offers a three- or four-semester sequence of courses leading to a Master of Science degree in biotechnology, chemistry, or physics.

Administration

Cyrus C. Taylor, PhD
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Dean and Albert A. Michelson Professor in Physics

Stephen E. Haynesworth, PhD
(Case Western Reserve University)
Associate Dean

Kurt Koenigsberger, PhD
(Vanderbilt University)
Associate Dean

Jill E. Korbin, PhD
(University of California, Los Angeles)
Associate Dean

Peter J. Whiting, PhD
(University of California, Berkeley)
Associate Dean

Clarke Leslie, BA
(Wheaton College)
Associate Dean, Development and External Relations

Michael Householder, PhD
(University of California, Irvine)
Assistant Dean

Beth Trecasa, MA
(University of Akron)
Assistant Dean, Strategic Initiatives

Centers in the College of Arts and Sciences

Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities

Established in 1996 with a generous endowment gift from Eric and Jane Nord, the Baker-Nord Center is dedicated to: 1) highlighting and celebrating the arts and humanities at Case Western Reserve University (art history and art, classics, English, history, modern languages and literatures, music, philosophy, religious studies, theater, and dance) through public lectures, panels, performances, and special programs; 2) supporting research and creative work in the humanities and arts through fellowships, grants, and symposia, as well as encouraging new and innovative directions in research and creativity, including the digital humanities, through public forums and open discussion; and 3) facilitating cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary collaborations among Case Western Reserve University faculty and members of other University Circle institutions that address questions and problems of broad human interest, within and outside of the academy.

Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics

The Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics (CERCA) is a center for the advancement and promotion of the scientific understanding of the origin and evolution of the universe and its contents, and their connection to fundamental physics. CERCA connects scientists and educators in the Departments of Physics and Astronomy and at the Shafran Planetarium of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH). It draws together theoretical and experimental physicists and astrophysicists with observational astronomers to explore the cosmos and, together with partner educators, to communicate their excitement and knowledge to students and to the world at large. CERCA is also a partner in the Institute for the Science of Origins, a partnership of Case Western Reserve, CMNH, and ideastream to advance and promote knowledge in a wide range of origins sciences.

Center for Policy Studies

The Center for Policy Studies has four objectives: 1) to make Case Western Reserve University a more attractive and rewarding institution for students and faculty who wish to learn about and engage in the creation of public policy; 2) to raise the public profile of the university by sponsoring programs and other activities that publicize and increase the reach of the work of CWRU's policy analysts and their guests; 3) to contribute to the wider community by disseminating information and analysis of policy issues as generated both by faculty and by guests we bring to campus; and 4) to encourage creation of a community of policy studies on campus that may serve in the future as the basis for further development of policy-oriented curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Center for Research on Tibet

The Center for Research on Tibet at Case Western Reserve University was founded in 1987 and is administered within the Department of Anthropology. The center's goal is to conceptualize and conduct research on Tibetan history, society, language, ecology/physiology, and culture so as to understand traditional Tibet and the manner in which it has changed.

Leonard Gelfand STEM Center

The Leonard Gelfand STEM Center links the resources of the College of Arts and Sciences - including faculty, staff, and students - with needs in the K-12 STEM community. Its collaborations with external partners, including schools and public libraries, park systems, and science museums, enhance instruction and generate student interest in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The center hosts the annual Northeast Ohio Regional Science Olympiad, conducts a summer Shipwreck Camp that includes lessons in meteorology and marine geology, and engages middle school students in biological fieldwork in its Environmental Heroes Program. Through the Gelfand Science and Engineering Fair Program, it provides support for science fairs in Northeast Ohio schools, and it recruits and trains undergraduates to assist younger students with their science fair projects. In addition, the center participates in the university's Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, which provides mentoring and other support for future math and science teachers.

Center for the Study of Writing

The Center for the Study of Writing (CSW) is a flexible, cross-disciplinary center that fosters connections between innovative writing research and sound pedagogical practices, and between specialized faculty expertise and the needs and interests of aspiring undergraduate and graduate students. 

Dittrick Medical History Center

The Dittrick Medical History Center is comprised of the Dittrick museum, archives, and collections of rare books, artifacts, and images. The center originated as part of the Cleveland Medical Library Association (est. 1894) and today functions as an interdisciplinary study center within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Ernest B. Yeager Center for Electrochemical Sciences

The mission of the Ernest B. Yeager Center for Electrochemical Sciences (YCES) is: 1) to enhance the education and training of students in fundamental and applied aspects of electrochemistry; 2) to provide a national and international resource for the dissemination of electrochemical knowledge within industrial, laboratory, and academic communities and to the general public and to support the continuing education of professional electrochemists; (3) to promote interactions between electrochemists and their research colleagues through seminars and symposia; and 4) to foster the improvement of the environment and human welfare through research in the design of materials and the development of processes and devices that will positively influence fields from medicine and microelectronics to energy conversion and energy storage.

Schubert Center for Child Studies

The Schubert Center for Child Studies aims to strengthen links between child-related academic study, public policy formation, and professional practice. The Schubert Center convenes experts from across campus and throughout the Cleveland community to provide an innovative forum for multidisciplinary education, research, and communications focused on child policy.

Skeletal Research Center

The mission of the Skeletal Research Center (SRC) is to facilitate the advancement of basic research and to accelerate the translation of this new information into innovative clinical strategies for the regeneration and maintenance of skeletal tissues. Based in the Department of Biology, the center provides an organizational umbrella for the creative and innovative interactions of faculty. Although members of our faculty have long been recognized as leaders in skeletal research, the center was established in 1986 to draw these individuals together into a multidisciplinary group which could jointly approach current basic research and clinical problems. SRC is an administrative entity under the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the dean of the School of Medicine.