College launches “design-your-own” major
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
CANTON, Mo. – Culver-Stockton College has launched a major in individualized or interdisciplinary studies that allows students to combine courses in various disciplines to create a program tailored to a student’s specific talents and interests.
“A few of our students have already developed thoughtful, creative majors that meet their individual needs for the future. A 2009 graduate earned the degree in jazz studies that he developed, and other students are pursuing programs that combine elements of business, law, politics, and finance,” said R. Joseph Dieker, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the college. “Culver-Stockton cannot offer every major; but working with each student, we can give students the flexibility to create the program they need to acquire the necessary skills to pursue their career goals – even if they don’t exactly fit the outline of one of our more traditional majors.”
Creating the individualized/interdisciplinary major is the second phase of the college’s launch of the EXP@CSC curriculum, which combines the rich tradition of a liberal arts education with hands-on experiential opportunities for students. Culver-Stockton introduced the curriculum in Fall 2008, which includes an innovative 12/3 academic calendar. Students take three or four courses in the first 12-week portion of each 15-week semester, but most students focus on only one course during the 3-week portion at the end of each semester. EXP@CSC courses offer real-world hands-on opportunities in both the 12-week and 3-week terms. Courses often include internships, clinical experiences, interaction with working professionals, and travel regionally, domestically or abroad.
The individualized/interdisciplinary major may be taken either as a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree depending on whether the student completes two years of a foreign language.
To design their major, students must work closely with faculty members to combine courses from a variety of academic disciplines in ways that not only meet their career goals but that also satisfy graduation requirements, including completion of the Common Experience courses and a capstone experience. The C-SC Academic Standards Committee must approve the proposed major at least three semesters before the student intends to graduate.
“The individualized major needs to meet the same rigorous academic criteria as all our other majors. Students who pursue these majors are not taking the easy way out. Often, they are combining courses that demand more from them in keeping on top of the variety of subjects they are studying,” added Dieker.
The third phase of the EXP@CSC academic program – revamped foreign language requirements for all majors – is expected to launch in Fall 2010.
“In this day and age, we need to prepare students for a globally connected world,” Dieker said. “As a small college, we don’t have the resources to provide faculty in a wide variety of languages, so our faculty will study many options. There are ways that small colleges are successfully offering languages – through partnerships, distance learning, technology and other measures. It’s too early to know how Culver-Stockton’s language program will evolve, but we will work to ensure that our students are prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.”
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