Approaching the Complex Questions: New School Offers Multidisciplinary Research and Learning

Kent State University has established a new school within its College of Arts and Sciences focused on the social sciences and humanities. The School of Multidisciplinary Social Sciences & Humanities will provide an academic home for innovative approaches to complex questions.

An open house is scheduled for September 22, (10 a.m. – 1 p.m.) in 113 Bowman Hall on the Kent Campus. This event is open to the public and light refreshments will be served.

“Complex questions often require insights from multiple fields of study,” Julie Mazzei, Ph.D., interim director of the school, said. “Our School is where various disciplines intersect, speaking to complex questions, and allowing our faculty and staff to create courageous answers. Our students will benefit from the expertise of faculty who encourage and facilitate cross-disciplinary approaches for holistic learning and research.”

The school will house the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality and will oversee three bachelor’s degree majors, one master’s degree and 10 undergraduate minors and certificates.

Mazzei will serve as the interim director of the school and Andrew Barnes, Ph.D., will serve as the undergraduate coordinator. Sarah Harvey oversees the Master of Liberal Studies program.

There are 9 faculty members currently included in this school: Mazzei, Barnes, and Joshua Stacher, Ph.D., (International Relations; Barnes is program director of the major); Suzanne Holt (program director, Women’s Studies minor), Chaya Kessler (program director, Jewish Studies Minor), David Odell-Scott, Ph.D., (program director, Integrated Studies major, Religious Studies Minor), Amanda M. Paar Conroy, Esq. (program director) and Mary S. Peterson, Esq. (both in Paralegal Studies, major, minor, certificate), Lauren Vachon (program director, LGBTQ Studies Minor).

This school will provide an academic home for degree programs offering multidisciplinary and innovative approaches to the study of:

  • social justice in oppressive systems, particularly in identity-based systems of oppression (gender and sexuality, religion, race, among others)

  • historical structures of marginalization and repression, contemporary movements for equity and justice

  • international relations, including but not limited to questions around individual and social rights; economics and trade (formal and informal); political authority and violence; political dissent and social mobilization

  • economics and sustainability (global climate, renewable resources, economics, trade)

  • understanding how illegal economic and trade activity sustains legal entities

  • intersectionality both in understanding exclusion and marginalization and in understanding agency, power, and privilege

To learn more about the new school, visit:

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Media Contacts:
Julie Mazzei, 330-672-8934,
Jim Maxwell, 330-672-8028,


Facts about the new School of Multidisciplinary Social Sciences & Humanities

The academic programs in this school include:

  • The Bachelor of Integrative Studies Degree (BIS) is a College of Arts and Sciences non-major degree in which the student is personally responsible for the research and design of his or her own degree program. 

  • The Master of Liberal Studies at Kent State University is a College of Arts and Sciences master’s program tailored to the specific interests and needs of the student. Under the guidance of the program director, students select courses from across the university, including online courses, to form their own individualized and integrated course of study.

  • The Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality houses two minor programs (LGBTQ Studies, Women's Studies) and offers courses in gender and sexuality.

  • The Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations allows students to explore how migration, repression, development, marginalization and resistance, among other processes, are affected by transnational forces. Those forces include capital, labor, ideologies and colonial structures. Students investigate how they can have an impact on these and other global issues.

  • Approved by the American Bar Association, Kent State University's Kent Campus offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Paralegal Studies, a minor in Paralegal Studies in conjunction with a 4-year degree (Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science), and a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies.

Undergraduate Minors include:

  • Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies

  • History and Philosophy of Science

  • Jewish Studies

  • Latin American Studies

  • LGBTQ Studies

  • Paralegal Studies

  • Religion Studies

  • Studies in Globalization, Identity, and Space

  • Women’s Studies

  • World Literature and Cultures

POSTED: Tuesday, September 14, 2021 09:50 AM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 03:57 PM
Jim Maxwell