College of Arts and Sciences
Varner Hall, Room 217
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(248) 370-2140
Fax: (248) 370-4280
CAS Advising
Varner Hall, Room 221
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(248) 370-4567

CAS Theme

In celebration of the liberal arts, the College of Arts and Sciences features annual themes that provide opportunities for students and faculty to investigate topics of interest from a broad interdisciplinary perspective. Theme events highlight the multiple facets of a single concept through the perspectives of the arts, literature, the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences.

The topic for 2016-17 is “Unity in Diversity.” Plan to attend some of the theme events. Check back for additional events and updates.

  • A Trio of Talks: Structural Unity within Diversity in the Performing Arts, Melissa Hoag, Department of Music, Theatre and Dance
    Oct. 10, 5:30p.m. – 6:45 p.m., Varner Recital Hall

    Structural Unity within Diversity in Music Theory will address how structural unity is manifest within diverse musical genres and styles, including classical and and contemporary Western art music and contemporary American popular music. Many listening examples are promised. (Melissa Hoag, Associate Professor of Music Theory)

    Structural Unity within Diversity in Dance will broaden the focus of the first talk by incorporating art and dance; it will address unity among works by Leonie Massine, George Balanchine, Pablo Picasso, Naum Gabo and other great artists of both genres from the 20th century, as well as contemporary dance artists, including 28-year-old New York City Ballet choreographer-in-residence Justin Peck, and his collaboration with Marcel Dzama on his new ballet, The Most Incredible Thing. (Elizabeth Kattner, Assistant Professor of Dance)

    Structural Unity within Diversity in Theatre" will address the ultimate integral art form: theatre. This presentation will address how storytellers continue to ask the same unanswerable questions (e.g., treatment of women), and how humanity demands that we continue to ask these same questions, regardless of cultural background, era, or geographical location, and that we find answers to these questions. (Kerro Knox, Associate Professor of Theatre, and Karen Sheridan, Professor of Theatre)

  • Trans Awareness and Inclusivity at Oakland University
    Oct. 27, noon - 1:00 p.m., 1050 HHB
    Ryan K. Sallans will present a series of talks and conversations to the entire university on “Stepping Toward a Trans Inclusive Campus.” Sallans is a public speaker, diversity trainer, consultant, and author specializing in health care, campus inclusion and workplace issues impacting the transgender community, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) community.

    For more information please contact Grace Wojcik at or Dr. Jo Reger at
  • Hidden diversity: an evolutionary history of humans and their diseases
    Nov. 4, Noon – 1 p.m., 203 Dodge Hall

  • Cadillac consumer: Race, brand, and neoliberal culture
    February 9, noon, location TBA

  • Themes of Transformation: “Dear Music, If it hadn’t been for you…”
    March 9, Noon - 12:55 p.m., 205 Varner

  • Accommodating multicultural/multilingual children in Southeast Michigan Schools
    March 14, noon - 1:30 p.m., Oakland Room, Oakland Center
  • Pan Music: Outlawed Traditions to Global Art Form
    April 7, 8 p.m., Varner Recital Hall

    Annual winter concert by OU’s World Music Ensembles (Akwaaba - African Ensemble and Pan-Jumbies - Steel Band) featuring legendary Trinidadian musician Ray Holman. A pioneering steel drum performer, composer, arranger, and educator, Ray Holman is one of the world’s foremost pan artists.  Mark Stone and Patrick Fitzgibbon, ensemble directors.

  • Comparative Americas, presentation by Professor Jeffrey Insko, Department of English
    Time and location TBA

  • Immigration, Education, and Cultural Diversity in Latin America
    Time and location TBA

  • Mining metagenomes for new branches on the tree of life
    Time and location TBA

  • Yé Krik, Yé Krak!  Celebrating our Diversity:  Stories and Fairy Tales from Many Nations
    Time and location TBA
The 2016-17 CAS theme graphic designed by John McCarthy, assigned by Maria Smith Bohannon, DES 350 (Graphic Design II).

Past themes:

  • Presidential Leadership (2004-2005)
  • Environmental Explorations (2005-2006)
  • Global Citizenship (2006-2007)
  • Cities (2007-2008)
  • Revolution (2008-2009) 
  • Religion and Society (2009-2010) 
  • Frontiers and Borders (2010-2011)
  • Water (2011-2012)
  • Cracking Codes: Literacy Now (2015-16)