New programs undergo strict critique

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Think about this: Pacific’s current enrollment numbers sit at 1,720 undergraduates, 1,713 graduates, with 30 English Language Institute students according to the latest headcount. When paired with 49 fields of study that students can choose from, 2012’s Faculty Chair of the Curriculum Committee Paige Baugher said “for the size of our student body we have enough majors,” Furthermore, the selection she said “can be kind of overwhelming.”

And yet, the Curriculum Committee of Pacific University stands to continue making adjustments to the university’s learning system; approving new majors, focal studies, learning goals of courses, graduation requirements and more. Simply put, “any changes in the curriculum goes through us,” said Baugher.

The curriculum committee is in its sophomore year at Pacific and although Baugher’s position is rotated to a different faculty member each year, the processes they go through to approve a new major has yet to change.

When a proposal for a new major has been brought to the committee, Baugher explained that the application has been “through a pretty thoroughly-vetted process by the time it gets to us.”

To submit a new major a faculty member first fills out a detailed application about the nature of the new major which requires a description of the program, its requirements, relativity to the school, goals, students who would participate and the faculty required.

Although all components of the application are necessary, Baugher said one of the most important is its relativity to the school, listed as “Academic Fit” on the application. This is for the committee to confirm that the possible major will “fit into the spirit of the liberal arts,” said Baugher.

After the faculty member has completed the forms, they then require approval from the department chair. After that, the head of the school that the major falls under has to give the final approval before the application is presented to the committee.

Although a proposed major may be given a warm reception and meet all the criteria set by its application and the committee, this does not mean it will become a reality.

Recently, a proposal for a graphic design major was brought to the committee by Media Arts professor Mike Geraci. The program was approved but later the news was received that it would not be added into the curriculum because Pacific’s budget would not allow it.

Baugher said that Geraci was well prepared for the major and the entire committee was enthused about it but “it all comes down to money.”

Other unforeseen issues can arise according to Baugher and “the programs have to get tweaked.” But these changes, too, have to go through the committee.

Although graphic design may not be part of Pacific’s curriculum in the foreseeable future, the committee will continue to improve the selection for students because “our job is to make them as good as they could be,” said Buagher.


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