The mission of the Matt Locke Ellis College of Arts and Sciences is to promote the highest quality of learning, scholarship, and artistic expression in order to develop in each student critical and creative skills including problem solving, analytical thinking, and effective communication that will lead to successful careers, fulfilling lives, and lifelong learning. To that end, we provide advanced study in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences and a broad-based liberal arts core curriculum for all Henderson students.


The concept of the liberal arts-based curriculum is rooted in antiquity. Ancient Greek philosophers viewed the liberal arts as the disciplines that advance intellectual and moral qualities, rather than those that deal only with technical skills. It was understood that free citizens needed to think critically and be articulate in expression to live wisely and successfully. Therefore, ancient and medieval curricula were focused in seven liberal arts: grammar, logic, rhetoric, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and music. The liberal arts curriculum today contains these same subjects, and it also includes the natural sciences. One cannot be fully prepared for citizenship in the world today without a fundamental understanding of these eight basic ways of knowing about ourselves and the world around us.

The liberal arts curriculum at Henderson State University is designed to assure that all graduates, regardless of major, will have studied the liberal arts. The curriculum core is constructed with the following objectives:

  • to develop those thinking and writing skills necessary for success in college and professional life; to gain an increased awareness and appreciation of the Western literary tradition.
  • to expand insight into world culture, social organization, development, and the persistent difficulties present.
  • to develop a knowledge and appreciation of cultures other than Western culture.
  • to expand individual skill and understanding of basic mathematical concepts and to explain the essential character of mathematics - how it is used to contribute to one's personal intellectual satisfaction.
  • to expand personal awareness of our cultural heritage by examining significant expressions of the persistent questions in mankind's search for identity and meaning.
  • to enhance communication competencies necessary for effectively expressing one's ideas.
  • to increase knowledge and awareness of the ways by which man seeks to gain understanding of the world's natural environment.
  • to develop the knowledge and competencies necessary for attaining and maintaining physical fitness and the development of leisure skills.

Ellis College is proud to provide the vast majority of the liberal arts curriculum at Henderson State University and to note that in recognition of the quality and breadth of the liberal arts curriculum, Henderson State is one of only 26 colleges and universities across the United States who are members of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC). 


To succeed in its mission and to remain faithful to its philosophy, Ellis College has the following goals. 

Ellis College will remain student-centered. 
Even as our programs develop and grow, Ellis College will strive to keep the undergraduate student in central focus in all its activities. 

We care. 
Henderson State University is known as the "School with a Heart," and all students can develop close working relationships and friendships with faculty and staff. Ellis College seeks to extend this notion by assuring that our students are constantly encouraged to reach their highest aspirations through the efforts of a caring and supportive, but demanding, faculty and administration. We will care enough to demand the best from our students even as we demand the most from ourselves; we will seek to be both "high touch" and "high tech." 

Highest quality programs of educational opportunities for our students. 
Though the programs of Ellis College are unusually diverse (even for a College of Arts and Sciences), a common sense of purpose is evident among the faculty scholars of Ellis College: our students come first, and we aim to offer them challenging, relevant and well-taught courses of study. Students will have the opportunities they need to be prepared for success in their professions and their scholarship. 

Finest facilities. 
Though blessed with exceptionally fine facilities for most programs, Ellis College will seek to improve and renew facilities supporting the educational programs in place and for those in development. Our goal is to assure that students have an environment in which learning is optimal, not undermined by inadequate educational resources, poor physical environment, or outdated equipment. This will require constant vigilance and planning to keep up advancing technology. 

Teaching and facilitation of learning. 
Ellis College will encourage, support, and reward outstanding teaching and the facilitation of learning in all its programs. Our goal is to promote learning and improve opportunities to learn among all students at Henderson State University. 

Scholarship and artistic expression. 
Ellis College will seek to encourage, support, and reward students and faculty in all forms of scholarship and artistic expression within and across the various disciplines constituting the College. Scholarship and artistic expression are the products of inquiring minds and external evidence that learning is taking place. 

Diversity of faculty and student body. 
Ellis College seeks diversity within its ranks, inclusive of all major ethnic groups. Additionally, Ellis College will seek gender equity in its faculty and students. These goals are important ethically, socially, and educationally. 

Internationalization of curricula and programs. 
Ellis College seeks to extend its activities internationally by promoting more student and faculty exchanges and by establishing additional cooperative programs. As the world shrinks, internationalization increases in importance because increasing our graduates will participate in a global community. 

Ellis College seeks to promote service to students, faculty, and the larger community. Faculty and students are encouraged to engage in significant service to others as their time and talents permit. Ellis College seeks to assure that Henderson State University is a cultural and intellectual center for this region of the state.