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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

“Minor” changes to academic offerings

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At a liberal arts college like Carleton, an interest in multiple fields is encouraged. Many of us are passionate about more than one major field of study, but the prospect of two comps discourages us from double majoring. The question comes to mind: Why does Carleton not offer minors when minoring is popular at most institutions?

Last November, the Education and Curriculum Committee (ECC) revisited the topic and formed a subcommittee on minors, chaired by History Department Professor Bill North. The issue was last extensively discussed in the years 1998-2000, until the Committee decided the implementation of minors would constrain exploration of other fields, back when the graduation requirements were different, with a higher amount of credits required for the major, general distribution and exploration (1/3 of the total credits each).

Over the winter break, the Committee gathered information from peer schools and discussed the nature of minors: what it entails, how it fits in the curriculum, which departments one could minor in and how many departments one could minor in at once. What they learned from other institutions was that minoring varies by school, and even by departments within schools.

At Carleton, the major difference between a minor and a concentration would lie in the interdisciplinary nature of concentrations; concentrations require crossovers from different departments, while minors exist under discrete departments. The Committee also reached out for consultation from Kim Betz, Career Center Director, on the employability of minors on a CV, receiving mixed answers. However, Professor North believes that the availability of minors will be “helpful for students in articulating the nature of their program on CVs.”

For now, both Professor North and Peter Sang ‘17, EEC CSA Liaison, both agree that nothing is certain. The ECC still needs to communicate with faculty and departments to discuss whether this implementation would place a stress on faculty and department resources.

For this winter and spring term, the ECC will propose to the Faculty Committee and lead student Focus Groups for more qualitative feedback. Professor North is optimistic that “whatever decision made will be based on good information, and the ECC will always be reexamining as the curriculum changes.”

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