Arts & Sciences to require minor of incoming freshmen

By PHU NGUYEN Reporter

The College of Arts & Sciences aims to increase the value of students’ profiles by making a proposal of a required minor.

The College of Arts & Sciences proposed to the Board of Regents (BOR) a required minor, said Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dennis Papini.

The combination of a major and a minor will help boost the potential for students to be hired by employers, according to Papini.

If approved, all the students graduating under the Fall 2015 catalog in the College of Arts and Sciences will need to have a minor along with their major.

The main purpose of this proposal is to prepare students with more skills rather than only focusing on the special skills provided by their major.

The backbone of the idea of a required minor is to prepare the students with what is called a “T-shaped profile.” In that model, the stem of the T is the group of innovative skills, like particular, technical or special skills and special knowledge. The T-top consists of collaboration skills to help promote the effectiveness of teamwork and leadership.

The T-shaped profile, according to Papini, will significantly make the students better prepared to enter the workforce.

He said that the employers are looking for a lot of values in the education of liberal arts such as active communication, proactive problem solving and the ability to work as a team as well as leadership skills.

“The economy is changing, so students also need specific and innovative skills in order to find a meaningful work and allow them to rise through the organizations more rapidly,” Papini said.

The proposal raised some concerns among the students because they think they will need to have a heavier course load as well as a rising tuition fee. It was also questioned if the additional course will contradict with the goal of 120-credit graduation requirement approved by the BOR a few years ago.

However, Papini said the minor will not affect anything. The college has gone through the majors to make sure there is still enough room for the minor and an additional 20 elective hours in order to meet 120 credit graduation requirement.

In addition, adding a minor will also smooth out the transition process if the students want to change their majors. They will no longer need to retake 100 and 200-level courses, due to the unique requirements of the college.

For example, currently a student majoring in engineering will need to take two biology classes and also foreign language if they want to change to communications studies in order to meet the Bachelor of Arts or Science requirements. If the proposal is approved such a process will not be required.

The college has begun working to redesign the list of minors in order to suit the proposal. New minors will be added and the ones that are not useful will be phased out. For instance, the informatics minor will provide students with foundational data management and then the faculty in specific disciplinary areas such as mass communications will offer more specialized analytic skills.  This will result in a unique skill set that is “innovative and highly prized among potential employers,” Papini said.

Academic advisors are ready to help students who will need help in picking an appropriate minor to fit their requirement.

Among students, there are mixed opinions on the required minor.

Crysta Dendinger, a geography major and journalism minor, believes there are enough students struggling to graduate in four years and adding a minor may even put more stress on them.

Brian Peterson, chemistry major, believes it makes sense to make the students more diverse.

“It should be the students’ option to get a minor or not,” animal science major Lacy Hanson said.