Departments, programs revise course catalog for next year

Last Wednesday, the faculty approved changes to the 2017-18 course catalog, including changes to major or concentration requirements for art history, Arabic, philosophy, theatre, computer science, women’s, gender and sexuality studies and global studies. The revised course catalog also includes a new label for linguistics courses.

The art department has altered the introductory-level courses for art history by delinking the ARTH 101 and ARTH 102 sequence and opening up the 100-level requirements. Majors will now need to complete any three of the four 100-level survey courses: ARTH 101 (European and American art, beginning to 1600 CE), 102 (European and American art, 1600 to present), 103 (Asian art) or 104 (African art).

The Arabic program is restructuring the Arabic studies major so that it is more similar to other language majors, by increasing the major from nine to 10 courses, and requiring ARAB 301: Advanced Arabic I and ARAB 302: Advanced Arabic II. The new major will require six language courses and four electives, including one 400-level ARAB course. Students with advanced standing who enter the College at the 201 level will now gain credit for one course toward the major.

The requirement of additional language courses is a result of increased staffing, according to Professor of German and Comparative Literature Gail Newman, who sits on the Committee on Educational Affairs and serves as coordinator of the Arabic program. Last year, the Committee on Appointments and Promotions approved a third full-time “line,” or tenure-track faculty member, for the program, which has had two lines since 2004. This allows the program to reliably offer 301 and 302 every year while giving professors flexibility to teach other content.

The program is also altering the requirement for the certificate: the number of required electives will drop from two to one, for a total of seven courses, and students will no longer be required to take a proficiency test.

Courses in any department with a strong linguistic component will now be listed together in the course catalog to guide students with interest in the subject. Linguistics will only be clustered and labeled; students will not be able to major or concentrate.

The impetus stemmed from a survey by the Curricular Planning Committee (CPC) to identify areas of study that were lacking in the curriculum. Many departments mentioned that their faculty were already involved in linguistic work that was not recognized more broadly, according to Newman. The hiring of Professor Lama Nassif, whose courses have expanded the existing linguistics offering within the languages, has also spurred clustering the courses.

“It happened organically,” said Newman. “There’s a critical mass of linguists now in the staff, and CPC’s analysis showed us that we have a cluster’s worth of courses.”

By labeling the courses, the College will be able to record enrollment levels. If interest is high enough, Newman said, “there might be an argument to push for a concentration.”

The philosophy department will loosen its major requirements by only requiring students to take either PHIL 201 (History of Ancient Philosophy) or PHIL 202 (History of Modern Philosophy), rather than both. As the courses are each taught by a faculty member who specializes in that time period, the department has had difficulty staffing the classes when those faculty go on a leave. This change will offer more flexibility for faculty in designing the courses, as well as for students. The department will continue to recommend that students take both courses if possible.

In addition, the theatre department will replace the required THEA 101 with a new course, THEA 102, which will be co-taught with dance and cross-listed as art.

“We are excited to offer a gateway course that will focus less on dramatic text and a regional theater model, and more on introducing students to the fundamentals of ‘performance’ and ‘time-based art,’ more broadly speaking,” Chair and Associate Professor of Theatre Amy Holzapfel said,

The department will also retitle their acting courses to eliminate the perception of a “sequence” through Acting I, II and III. Students will be able to choose from an array of acting courses with a range of focuses, from physical theatre to traditional scene study, according to Holzapfel. The new titles will reflect the content and methods of those classes.

The computer science department will replace MATH 200 with a discrete mathematics proficiency requirement, fulfilled by taking MATH 200 or passing a departmental test. Previously, the department had addressed variability in students’ background with discrete mathematics through ad-hoc advising. The department will also drop the project course elective requirement, giving majors greater flexibility in electives to support a diverse set of interests among students.

The women’s, gender and sexuality studies (WGSS) major will add a third required course: WGSS 202 (Foundations in Sexuality Studies) in addition to its introductory course and senior seminar.

The Global Studies Advisory Committee will drop the existing colloquium requirement for the global studies concentration. According to the committee, the requirement did not effectively fulfill the goal of exposing concentrators to a wider array of international experiences and creating a sense of community. Since the colloquium took place during regular class hours, the requirement also placed an extra burden on student schedules.