A Message from the Dean of the College

I am pleased to welcome you to the College of the University of Chicago. Students are the heart of the College, bringing their diverse experiences and perspectives, unique passions, talents, questions and aspirations to our community and to their studies. Students are taught and championed by dedicated faculty, instructors and staff with deep expertise: in field-defining research across a wide range of disciplines; in advancing teaching and learning practices; in enriching the student experience and growth in and outside of the classroom; and in supporting the success and wellness of all students.  

Over many decades, the College has nurtured a true liberal education that is deeply and broadly integrated into our world class research university. We stand by a foundational value of teaching students to think expansively and across disciplines.

Central to the College’s liberal arts education is the Core Curriculum. In Core classes, distributed across the Humanities, the Social, Biological and Physical Sciences, and the Arts, students explore central ideas and how questions in these fields are approached. Although I, myself, am a scientist, I believe the Cores in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts play a unique and formative role for every student – for the insights they provide to us as individuals and as members of communities, and for enriching our lived experience. As a scientist, I also see first-hand their impact through the depth and richness of viewpoint and analysis that the suite of Core sequences provides to students who enter technical STEM fields.  

Specialization beyond the Core is developed in the many Majors and Minors offered on campus. These courses of study take advantage of the University's rich intellectual research community, in the academic divisions and increasingly in the professional schools. Research opportunities, likewise, provide in depth ways to learn fields of study and the processes that advance their work hands-on. We continue to grow the numbers and types of research opportunities and other career-related opportunities at the University, in the local community and at other partnering institutions.  

The University of Chicago is noted for its steadfast commitment to free expression, and this plays a central role in education at the College. Protecting free expression honors and protects diverse ideas, particularly minority viewpoints. It ensures that scholars can pursue their work and findings without concern that this will place them at odds with an employer, it makes it possible to bring viewpoints to campus that are contrary to prevailing views, and, not least, it affords the opportunity to listen carefully, grapple with challenging ideas, take intellectual risks and defend our own thinking. This is a distinctive gift of liberal arts education, and it is something we can only develop in community, with mutual respect and tolerance. 

The College is a rich, inquisitive community – students on campus as well as a global network of alums, families and friends. I look forward to getting to know all of you and supporting student progress through the years on campus and beyond. 

–Melina Hale, dean of the College, William Rainey Harper Professor in Organismal Biology and Anatomy and the College