New major and minor up for approval


Photo credit: Genevieve Humphreys

Photo by Genevieve Humphreys

A proposed modern language major and art history minor are waiting faculty assembly approval on April 12 in order to become official courses of study.

Both the major and minor have already gone through levels of approval, but the last step is to be approved at the faculty assembly meeting.

“Big changes — changes to Pathways requirements or something as big as a new major or minor — go on what we call the ‘discussion agenda.’ That means that they will be brought as a motion to the floor of the next faculty assembly. Both the new architectural studies minor and the global Latinx studies major will be on the agenda for the next faculty assembly meeting,” said Glenn Kroeger, chair of the University Curriculum Council (UCC).

For a major, a group of faculty has to have an assessment plan ready and go through an accreditation process with Institutional Research and Effectiveness, the library and ITS in order to ensure that the university has the resources to support the major. Then, the major can be brought to the UCC.

“Lots of things have to be checked off before the major can be brought to the UCC. It’s mainly just making sure all the ducks are in a row before the UCC looks at the proposal. Our job mostly is to look at the academic aspect of it, how it fits in with the mission of the university and the benefits that it will bring to students,” Kroeger said.

The Mexico, the Americas and Spain (MAS) executive committee and professors have created a new major called global Latinx studies. The new major will reside in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and will eventually replace the MAS concentration within the international studies major.

“We started gathering ideas on how to transform the concentration that we have under international studies. There are transformations happening around the international studies curriculum, and we felt that we had the resources, the faculty and the motivation to move out of international studies and do our own major,” said Dania Abreu-Torres, associate professor of modern languages and literatures.

The new major has adopted many of the same classes that currently reside in the MAS concentration in the international studies major, in addition to some more introductory classes and a capstone course.

“We wanted to move the major forward without too many obstacles. We felt [the concentration] was getting to limited, so that is why we decided to move out from international studies, but at the same time, international studies was moving as well, from regional studies to more thematic studies considering international topics and concerns,” Abreu-Torres said.

A minor in architectural studies from the Department of Art and Art History is up for approval as well. Minors go directly to the UCC because they do not need to be assessed first.

“The hurdles for a major are far greater than the hurdles for a minor. Minors, because they do not lead to a degree, don’t have to be assessed. The minor doesn’t have to have anywhere near as much documentation prepared,” Kroeger said.

Kathryn O’Rourke, associate professor of art and art history, and other faculty members of the department conceived of the new architectural studies minor.

“The minor is intended for students who are interested in architecture, architectural history and historic preservation,” O’Rourke wrote in an email interview. “Our department has already been successful in sending Trinity graduates to prestigious programs in architecture, historic preservation and urban design. The minor is a way of formalizing what we have been doing for years.”

The original idea was to create a major in architecture, but Trinity administration did not approve the necessary funding.

“We saw opportunity to create one of the most exciting, prestigious, interdisciplinary undergraduate programs in architecture in the U.S. with a major. The administration did not share that vision, but with this minor hopefully we can at least begin to reach students who have interests in architecture and related fields,” O’Rourke wrote.

If passed at the faculty assembly meeting, the major and minor will be added to the Courses of Study bulletin in the fall of 2019.