Minor system might change

The University Senate is considering altering the residency requirements.

Jerret Raffety

Changes could be in the works for how the University system awards minors to students.

The University Senate Educational Policy Committee is considering a new draft on the University’s residency requirement, said James Leger, a committee member. One of the four amendments would require a student to take at least one upper-level class in the school in which he or she wants to earn a minor. The committee will vote on the amendment Feb. 9, Leger said.

The committee began considering the issue when members heard about a student who applied for a minor at the University based entirely on transfer credit from another school.

“If a student had not taken any courses at the University, it would be a misrepresentation to award a minor through one of our departments,” Leger said.

Minors frequently indicate to employers some proficiency and interest in a subject, Leger said. Students should be prepared to participate in coursework at the University before indicating they are proficient in a minor, Leger said.

There have been several arguments brought against the new amendment, he said.

There are no requirements for minors that cover all University departments, which could cause confusion, Leger said.

“This is a weak argument in my opinion,” Leger said. “If you’re going to have requirements for a major, it’s logical to establish requirements for a minor at some point.”

Some have also argued such a change could force some students to repeat courses they have already taken, said Douglas Wangensteen, a committee member.

The University does offer independent or directed study courses for students facing such a scenario, he said. The classes might be more interesting to students and would help ensure they would not be assigned material they had had before, Wangensteen said.

In extreme circumstances in which a student cannot take an upper-level class at the University campus from which he or she wishes to graduate, the student can petition the college to consider waiving the requirement. The decision and process would vary by college, Wangensteen said.

The amendment should not discourage people from transferring and graduating from a University campus, because students are not required to have minors for graduation, Wangensteen said. Graduates who do not get minors could instead show prospective employers they have taken a number of classes on one topic, he said.

The issue has not been very controversial with the committee, said Gretchen Haas, a student member of the group.

“Most on the committee support the new amendment,” she said.

Haas said she supports the amendment.

“It wouldn’t be right for an institution to award a minor based on the fact that a student took all 24 credits required for a minor at another university,” said Haas, a sixth-year doctoral candidate.

Adam Cloutier, a second-year student in the College of Liberal Arts, said he supports the new amendment.

“It sounds fair to me, because you’re not really getting a minor here if you’re using courses entirely from another school,” he said.