Core Abilities


“We’re committed to finding creative ways to put students in real-world professional environments.”

Dr. Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak

A brief visit to Dr. Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak’s office gives a glimpse of how much work goes into preparing students for a life of meaningful work.

“We have a lot of conversations around what it means to be a liberal arts institution in the Jesuit tradition, working for the common good and in service of others,” she says. “That entails preparing students to meet future challenges.

As Dean of Gonzaga University’s College of Arts and Sciences, Mermann-Jozwiak Gonzaga is helping shape how the institution fleshes out this mission. Today, they are focusing in a couple of different ways. The first is a bit counter-intuitive: doubling down on humanities education. While many question the value of a broader liberal arts education in today’s STEM-focused world, Mermann-Jozwiak is hearing a different refrain from the likes of Nike and Starbucks, captured in this Gonzaga video.


“At a recent college advisory board meeting, we were discussing employers who consistently look for critical thinking skills, analytical skills, writing and communication skills, the ability to partner right away on real projects,” she says. “The technical specifics of many jobs can be taught to a talented early-career hire, if they arrive with these core abilities they’ve built at Gonzaga.”

A second emphasis for Gonzaga is experiential learning opportunities that offer real, transferable skills and meaningful connections. A look at the College’s current newsletter shows just how front-and-center these efforts have become.

“Learning by doing is a no-brainer,” Mermann-Jozwiak says. “But we have gone further, instituting it across the board, even in programs that don’t traditionally lend themselves to it. We’re committed to finding creative ways to put students in real-world professional environments.”

Are you looking for early-career workers who want to make a positive impact in the world, are ready to collaborate right away, and want to stay in Spokane if the right opportunity presents itself? Yep: Gonzaga University is graduating around a thousand of them every year.


photos courtesy of Gonzaga University