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What is MALS?


  • MALS is interdisciplinary

Courses are taught by faculty from across the College of Arts and Sciences and each one has an interdisciplinary aspect.  We break down departmental barriers to explore important questions through a variety of perspectives.

  • MALS tackles the big questions

What does it mean to be human? How do we understand the world we live in? Where did we come from and where are we going? Each MALS course invites broad thinking on issues of importance.

  • In MALS, you follow your passion

Within the broad parameters of the program, you are free to shape your course of study to suit your intellectual interests, to follow your passion.

  • MALS is stimulating and dynamic

Small seminar classes mean that you learn from your classmates as well as your professors.  The diversity of the student body, the richness of the life experiences and the variety of their interests creates a stimulating and dynamic learning environment.

  • MALS can boost your career

While many MALS students are in the program for the pure joy of learning, the program cultivates important skills sought by employers: critical thinking, problem solving, research methods, writing, presentation skills.

  • MALS understands adult students

You can complete the degree on a part-time basis and classes are held in the evening for the convenience of those who are working.  No GRE scores are required for admission.

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  • Michele Walfred
    Communications Specialist

    The MALS program encouraged 2014 alumna Michele Walfred to combine her interests in journalism and art with her growing fascination for the 19th century American immigration experience.  Originally motivated to explore her own Irish heritage, her last MALS course, Contemporary Culture: Asian Immigration to America, inspired Walfred to look beyond the familiar and probe deeper into the commonalities between the Irish and Chinese immigrant experiences, and the social, cultural and political reasons for their volatile relationship in a youthful yet expanding America.

    Walfred's capstone project, Illustrating Chinese Exclusion (www.thomasnastcartoons.com) explores the 46 cartoons drawn by Thomas Nast for New York-based Harper's Weekly, and compares Nast's depictions to that of George F. Keller, who drew for The San Francisco Illustrated Wasp. It is the first thorough examination of Thomas Nast's work featuring Chinese immigrants, Chinese Americans and U.S.-China relations as subjects for editorial cartoons.

    While Illustrating Chinese Exclusion provides a glimpse into the percolating immigrant issues of that era, Walfred's historical spotlight remains relevant today as national conversations about immigration and inclusion/exclusion continue to be passionately discussed.

    Nearly 173,000 have visited the website in its first two years.  Walfred's MALS project is used as a resource for high school students and colleges such as University of Dayton, University of Connecticut, Louisiana State University, Baruch College-CUNY, St. Joseph's College and Brandeis University to name a few. Her work has been cited by NPR, Politico and The Boston Globe, among others.

    "The MALS program changed how I view everything," says Walfred. "I soon found that what you think you know, or what has been handed down to you, is often coming from a limited point of reference.  The MALS program has trained me to look around. Indulge my curiosity. Go find out.  Explore.  Peel back the layers. You will be surprised by what you discover!"

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  • Dr. Guilermina Gonzalez
    Executive Director, Delaware Arts Council

    "My current connection to the arts in the state is closely related to the University of Delaware.  UD was the first intellectual home I had when I moved to Delaware.  One of my first classes at the MALS program was "Art in the Twentieth Century"... where we explored the renewed impact of the Mexican Muralism Movement.  By opening this world to me the MALS program nurtured my ongoing involvement with the arts and culture in the state."

    Guillermina Gonzalez is a multicultural professional with experience in the United States, Mexico, and Europe in her successful career as an executive in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors.  She began her career working for multinational organizations in marketing and sales and has since brought her corporate expertise to the nonprofit sector.  Currently, she is the Executive Director of the Delaware Arts Alliance, the highly active arts advocacy group in the state.  Previously, she served as the Executive Director of the advocacy organization Voices Without Borders.  

    Dr. Gonzalez is actively involved in the community and serves as the Chair of the Americans for the Arts' State Arts Action Network and Delaware's NPR radio WDDE Community Advisory Board.  She has served on the Delaware State Arts Council, as well as on boards of Delaware College of Art and Design, Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, Latin American Community Center, and the AARP Executive Council.  The University of Delaware's College of Arts and Sciences distinguished Dr. Gonzalez with the Alumni Achievement Award in May 2014.

    Dr. Gonzalez has an MBA from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, where she taught marketing and business administration.  She holds a Certificate in Leadership and Public Management and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from the University of Delaware.  She obtained her doctorate in Business Administration at Wilmington University in January 2014. 

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  • Jeanille Gatta
    Leader, Market Access Enterprise Solutions

    “I knew I would be investing a lot of time earning a degree in addition to working fulltime, so it was vitally important to me to have class time that ensured passion and a quest for learning among a diverse group of people with vibrant interests. In an MBA class, there would be mostly business professionals discussing industry skills, and we likely wouldn’t be discussing Galileo or Hitler or oral history as I did in several courses in the MALS program.   I have never really been interested in a degree that was essentially ‘job training,’ and I was continually in awe of my MALS classmates’ life accomplishments.

    “All of the leaders I work for now are enticed by critical thinking from diversely educated individual contributors.  As I evolve in my career, I am impressed by leaders or fellow team members who have a diverse education and a variety of interests.  Experience or education like that can only deepen an individual in business, or in any career.”  

    “As a classical ballet student growing up, I was always close to the arts and wanted a curriculum that would allow me to continue that exposure. I was able to pursue an independent study on the history and role of typography with a great professor in Visual Communications, Ray Nichols, as I was about to make a career change into advertising and marketing.  And my synthesis project consisted of an oral history of a former ballet teacher, John White, who was an American ballet dancer with the Ballet Nacional de Cuba when Fidel Castro began the company in the late 1950s.  I even coordinated a viewing of a related documentary, Mirror Dance, on campus, converging my oral history coursework, my synthesis project, and my love of ballet.

    “The Oral History class I took with Dr. Roger Horowitz was life-changing. It not only sparked the idea for my final project, but it brought to life the meaningful difference an oral history can make in the world, whether you’re talking about its place in history or our own family lives.”

    Jeanille has a BA in International Relations (and Psychology minor) from Saint Joseph’s University and earned her Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from the University of Delaware in 2005.  She started off her career in nonprofit fundraising and marketing at The Rock School for the Pennsylvania Ballet before working in Admissions and Development for the University of Delaware. Jeanille transitioned her career into health advertising and marketing and after working for two leading health advertising agencies, she has been working at AstraZeneca in marketing for the past nine years.  “At this point in my life,” she says, “I hope to rejuvenate that quest for the interdisciplinary that the MALS program fulfilled and the arts by volunteering for local arts organizations.”

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  • Charles Conway
    Director of Education & Community Engagement, Delaware Theatre Company

    On its webpage, the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) promises that the program “develops the timeless qualities of liberal education at the graduate level: to think freely, to imagine adventurously, to choose discriminately, and to understand deeply.” This is what drew me to the program and I have not been disappointed.

    The MALS program has provided me the opportunity to rediscover the sheer joy of thinking and learning. My objective is to use the MALS experience to guide me as I consider the next stages of my development and the successes I have had has made me realize that old rocking chair is not getting me. 

    Charles Conway is a current student in the MALS program.

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