New Mexico Tech Banner nmtlogo
Arts & Sciences

Department of
Communication, Liberal Arts, Social Sciences

History and Background

Tree full of Techies Throughout its history, the department has been home to various literary and scholarly publications, one of them the literary magazine SCRIPTS that flourished in the 1960's. Here is the SCRIPTS team, 1966.

The C.L.A.S.S. department is home to an impressive number of academic fields including history, literature, writing, technical communication, modern languages, art history, music, philosophy, and science and technology studies. Over the years and through a lot of name changes, we’ve also been at the center of campus projects and services such as NMT creative writing journals, the school’s yearbook and newspaper, The Writing and Oral Presentation Center, and the NMT Women’s Resource Center.

And we’ve been here from the beginning. Core elements of the CLASS department have been part of Tech since it opened. Being a good scientist or engineer takes strong writing and presentation skills and a good grasp of the social contexts of science and engineering.

According to the 1908-09 catalog information about the required preparatory classes (which were taught then through the NMT “Academy”),

Especial stress is placed on work in English writing. It is being recognized that a most necessary part of a technical graduate’s equipment is an ability to express himself in concise, consecutive, idiomatic English. Slovenly, inconsequential, ambiguous English in a report, a letter, an application, can readily lose a desirable position to an otherwise valuable technical man. (page 13, archived in the Registrar’s Office)

Yearbook Photo Thomas Bennett, Principal of the Academy of New Mexico School of Mines (in modern terms, the department chair), professor of English and Spanish, 1925.

The earliest NMT catalog archived in Skeen library dates from 1912 and lists the Department of Language, which taught Spanish, and the Academic Department, which taught English and History (as well as basic math and sciences).

Catalogs from 1917 to 1930 list the Department of English and Spanish offering basic first-year writing courses, technical writing, and Spanish language courses. College preparatory courses were still taught by the Academy, and according to the 1921 catalog, those required writing classes met for 5 periods each week.

From 1930 through 1943, the department went by the name of Language and Economics. The post World War II era saw a surge in college students thanks to the GI bill, and Tech’s course

Typewriter Photo How things were done in the pre-computer era: a SCRIPTS student worker hard at work on a typewriter, 1968.

offerings in humanities and social sciences grew to meet the new demand. The courses covered three areas required for all students:

  • Written and spoken English
  • Literature and Fine Arts
  • Social Science and History

Beginning in 1944, the department was called the Humanities Department, a name it kept until its current name (as of the 2011-2012 catalog): the Department of Communication, Liberal Arts, and Social Sciences.

Department Chair
Dr. Steve Simpson

Department Secretary
Liza Apache
Department of Communication, Liberal Arts, Social Sciences
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Fitch Hall
801 Leroy Place
Socorro, NM 87801

Phone: 575-835-5445     Fax: 575-835-5544