The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest college at Northern Michigan University and came into existence as the School of Arts and Sciences on July 1, 1962 with Luther S. West as its dean.

In 1965, West retired and the area of Arts and Science was incorporated into the duties of the vice president of academic affairs.  The school was revived as a separate entity a year later and was served by David Dickson and Thomas Griffith as dean in 1966 and 1967, respectively.

In 1967, Arts and Sciences underwent a major reorganization and began the policy of writing open faculty evaluations – a first at NMU. 

Since its beginning, Arts and Sciences has had eight deans, including the current dean, Dr. Robert Winn.  The college’s longest-serving dean was Donald Heikkinen, who took on the position in 1974 and retired in 1990.

Today, the College of Arts and Sciences is comprised of the following areas: art and design, biology, chemistry, communication and media studies, economics, English, geography, history, modern languages and literatures, mathematics and computer science, music, philosophy, physics, political science and public administration, psychology, sociology and anthropology, theatre and dance, and Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship.

Some of the departments that were once a part of Arts and Sciences include criminal justice, military science, and social work.  All of these departments are now part of the College of Health Sciences and Professional Studies.

At one time the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences was also the director of the NMU Press.

The deans of Arts and Sciences: 

  • Luther West, 1962-65
  • David Dickson, 1966-67
  • Thomas Griffith, 1967-71
  • Robert Glenn, 1971-74
  • Donald Heikkinen, 1974-90
  • Leonard Heldreth (interim), 1991-92
  • Michael Marsden, 1992-99
  • Terrance Seethoff, 1999-2010
  • Michael Broadway, 2010-2017
  • Robert Winn, 2017-Present