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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Message from the Dean

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Matthew Cecil

Matthew Cecil, Ph.D., is Dean of the College of Arts & Humanities. A Brookings, S.D., native, Cecil earned a bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University, a master’s degree in History from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a doctorate in Mass Communication from the University of Iowa. Cecil’s faculty and administrative career includes stints at Purdue University, The University of Oklahoma, South Dakota State University, and Wichita State University. A media historian, Cecil has produced 25 scholarly articles and presentations and three books: Branding Hoover’s FBI: How the Boss’s PR Men sold the Bureau to America (2016); The Ballad of Ben and Stella Mae: Great Plains Outlaws Who Became FBI Public Enemies Nos. 1 and 2 (2016); Hoover’s FBI and the Fourth Estate: The Campaign to Control the Press and the Bureau’s Image (2014). In 2015, Hoover’s FBI and the Fourth Estate was named History Book of the Year by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Prior to becoming a professor, Cecil was a daily newspaper journalist, political press secretary, and media relations specialist.

Twitter: @matthew_cecil


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From Dr. Matthew Cecil, Dean

When employers are asked to describe their ideal job candidate, recent surveys and studies show they invariably describe liberal arts graduates. Employers value graduates who are flexible and adaptable to the constant change inherent in the 21st century workplace. They value graduates who understand ethical behavior and can employ creativity and critical thinking to solve problems. They value graduates who are excellent communicators.

The talented faculty of the College of Arts & Humanities provides that sort of foundational knowledge to every graduate of the university through general education courses. Importantly, the college is also home to more than 70 undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs. Each year, hundreds of students earn degrees from our programs and move into the workplace in a wide variety of careers.

Like our graduates, the more than 100 faculty members in the college are constantly adapting. In recent years, faculty members have updated many programs to better serve students and have created new programs to fill emerging societal needs:

  • The Department of Music has created an innovative Music Industry program emphasizing experiential learning and leading to real-life careers in music promotions, management, production, and other areas.
  • Faculty from Communication Studies, English, and Mass Media have collaborated to create a Film and Media Studies program emphasizing media literacy, media production, and understandings of the way film reflects and influences society.
  • The Department of English hosts the Good Thunder Reading Series bringing authors to the campus and into the community for readings and workshops.
  • The college’s Interdisciplinary Studies program offers students the opportunity to combine three areas of study to create a customized degree that reflects the complexity and changing nature of the 21st century workplace.
  • The Department of Philosophy has partnered with Biology, Computer Science, and Psychology to offer a bachelor’s degree program in Cognitive Science studying the nature of the human mind and the way knowledge is created. The department also collaborates with Political Science and Economics to offer the Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) major.
  • The Department of World Languages & Cultures offers a variety of programs including a 100 percent online M.S. in Spanish for the Professions that can expand graduates’ career possibilities through a focus on spoken and written communication.
  • The Department of Art’s wide variety of offerings includes a degree emphasis on Graphic Design. Graduates of the program typically find jobs in graphic design studios or communication agencies.
  • The Department of Theater & Dance provides students with more opportunities to participate in performances and productions than any other college or university in the region. Department productions are seen by more than 40,000 patrons each year.

Those are just a few of the innovative programs offered in the college. The disciplines of the College of Arts & Humanities offer students a window to the world and pathways to a wide variety of careers. A degree from one of the departments and programs represented in the college can enable graduates to thrive and adapt to the subjectivity and ambiguity that characterizes the 21st century workplace.