CEA addresses faculty-proposed course and major changes

March 16, 2016 by Caitlin Ubl, Staff Writer

Before the faculty meeting on March 9, the Committee on Educational Affairs (CEA) sent a memorandum addressed to the College’s faculty detailing proposed changes to multiple majors and concentrations. The CEA released the proposal prior to the meeting with the intention of alerting the faculty in advance and giving them time to prepare for debate and discussion about significant modifications to course lists and major requirements. The faculty from departments in Divisions I, II and III as well as those affiliated with special programs at the College proposed changes to allow more flexibility regarding classes required to obtain a major.   

The department of romance languages requested approval to change requirements for the Spanish major to include RSLP 103 and 104, both composition and conversation courses, as requisites for the major.  “The new language to be adopted for the Spanish major increases the emphasis on advising within the major and is much more consistent with the requirements for the French major,” the department noted. This would create consistency and cohesion within the romance language departments. 

The political economy department proposed modifications to require PSCI 201, Power, Politics and Democracy in America, as a mandatory introductory course starting with the class of 2020. In addition, political economy seeks to modify the discussion of credit for coursework done elsewhere in order to allow for the possibility of receiving credit for the empirical methods requirement during study away. The department stated, “The goal of this change is to ensure that all majors are exposed to methodologies that are critical to senior capstone projects”

The psychology faculty proposed the elimination of the differentiation between Group A and Group B 200-level courses, explaining, “As the field of psychology has become more interdisciplinary in its questions and methods, the distinctions between our sub-areas that originally justified this split between Group A and Group B are no longer applicable. The […] distinction simply no longer adds any value enhancing the breadth of the major.”

Mathematics and statistics proposed that all majors be required to take STAT 321 as “the underpinning of much of statistical inference.” To keep the major at ten courses, the application course requirement would be dropped. The department believes that its core courses, STAT 201, 202 and 346, contain a wide variety of applications that make up for the dropping of that requirement.

Faculty proposed consolidation of the environmental studies program’s two current majors, environmental science and environmental policy. This change would create one interdisciplinary major in environmental studies. “The program seeks to adjust the balance between required and elective courses to build more flexibility into the major while maintaining the 11 course framework,” faculty representatives stated. The proposed changes also include reducing required courses for the major from seven to six and incorporating maritime studies under the umbrella of the Center for Environmental Studies.

The justice and law studies program would prefer to drop the distributional requirement between “theories of justice and/or law” and “historical enactment of application in institutions.” This would streamline the program and allow students more flexibility to dictate a unique and specific course of study.

Having been approved by the faculty, the changes will be implemented in the course options for the 2016-2017 academic year.

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