A number of new academic programs are making their debut at AU this fall.
New majors are available in the Department of Mathematics, the Department of Science and Engineering and in the Falls School of Business. Minors have also been added at the School of Theology and Christian Ministry and at the School of Humanities and Behavioral Science.
The Department of Mathematics is now offering a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in addition to the existing Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics. Dr. Courtney Taylor, the department chair, describes the differences between the B.S. and the B.A.
“The primary difference between the two degrees in mathematics is that the B.S. requires 47 hours and the B.A. 30,” says Taylor. “The additional hours for the B.S. come from eight credits of major-level science and programming courses.
“Students who intend to pursue graduate school or use mathematics in a more technological industry may desire a B.S. over a B.A. On the other hand, for those who want to double major in another major such as psychology or Christian ministries, the B.A. would be the better choice.”
The Department of Science and Engineering has added a Bachelor of Science in Biology as an alternative to the existing Bachelor of Arts in Biology. Dr. Kimberly Lyle-Ippolito, the chair of the Biology Department, explains the need for a B.S. as well as a B.A.
“A B.S. takes one more semester of chemistry, one more semester of math and two more semesters of physics than the B.A.,” she says. “The liberal arts cores are exactly the same for both.
“The additional science may not be necessary for someone who is planning to teach high school biology, so they don’t need the extra rigor. Pre-medical students will have to take these courses anyway, so they will get a B.S. to acknowledge the additional science courses they take.
“Both degrees give students options,” says Lyle-Ippolito. “It allows them to somewhat customize their education.”
The process for adding new majors and minors is a lengthy one. First, a department must submit a proposal to the Curriculum Committee. If after several readings the proposal is approved, it is then sent to the Academic Policies Committee where it is tested against AU’s academic policies. Finally, if the proposal is approved by the Academic Policies Committee, it is sent to the faculty for discussion and action.
Provost Marie Morris places emphasis on the importance of offering relevant programs, saying: “The main point is not how many program options are provided, but that we are offering programs that are relevant.”
“As we seek to be ‘distinctive, compelling and relevant,’ as called for by President Pistole, it is important for us to make sure that all of our programs are relevant in preparing students for a lifetime of employment and engagement,” says Morris.
In the spirit of remaining relevant, the addition of majors and minors is not left to guesswork. Morris highlights the care and consideration that goes into deciding which programs AU should adopt.
“Departments and the institution do periodic environmental scanning to see which areas of study are relevant,” she says. “For example, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is scanned for up-and-coming areas. Departments also draw from the expertise of the faculty and what we learn from our Admissions staff as they are out recruiting students.”
The Falls School of Business has also added an adult studies major in business administration and leadership. The two added minors are in history of Christianity and in visual communication and design.