CAA drafts vitalization recommendations, approves 2 new majors

Chrissy Miller, Administration Reporter

On Tuesday, the Council on Academic Affairs went through a draft document with recommendations for the programs being considered for elimination and reorganization. These include Africana studies, philosophy, and adult and community education.

CAA Chair Stacey Ruholl said since the council did not choose to make any changes, the draft will become the final submission in two weeks, after they add it to the agenda as an item next week.

According to the draft, the CAA recommends program retention for philosophy, program reorganization for Africana studies and a program hiatus for adult and community education. It did not discuss how Africana studies would be reorganized.

“It is agreed that if the program was to be reorganized such that more interdisciplinary opportunities exist, it would have a greater overall impact on students and other programs,” the rationale of the draft said.

In the rationale, the CAA wrote that the overall quality of the Africana studies program is difficult to discern.

Ruholl said the council had difficulty because of the materials they were given to review and the fact that no one came to answer questions they had on the program.

“We really didn’t have any good information to make that decision,” Ruholl said.

On adult and community education, the CAA wrote that it is an innovative program and if resources become available, it could be revived.

The CAA wrote that they recommended retention for philosophy as it provides students the opportunity to become responsible citizens and leaders by learning about the methods and results of inquiry in the humanities.

“The philosophy program impacts several other interdisciplinary minors and programs, including numerous general education courses provided to the university,” the rationale reads.

Plans for two new majors and a new minor were also discussed.

Gabriel Grant, a School of Technology professor, proposed new classes involving web technology, gaming, animation, and simulation before the council, including Capstone Project in Digital Media.

After agreeing to make some amendments to the capstone course and other courses proposed by Grant, the courses were unanimously passed. The vote for creating the new Digital Media program was passed unanimously as well. Grant spent two years crafting the proposal.

“I see it as an opportunity for all of us to be able to achieve and do well and help all of our students achieve whatever their career goals are,” Grant said.

The creation of a stand-alone biochemistry major was also proposed and passed unanimously.

Chemistry coordinator Daniel Sheeran said the new biochemistry major would be very similar to the classes used to get the biochemistry concentration now; however, it will make the program more marketable than it is currently.

“Biochemistry doesn’t appear on the degree when a student graduates. Secondly, biochemistry doesn’t appear in the ‘choose my major’ on the EIU website,” Sheeran said. “We believe this is a growth area and we’d like to do our part to attract students and encourage them to see that we do offer biochemistry.”

The CAA unanimously passed the proposal for the new photojournalism minor as well.

Journalism professor Brian Poulter said this minor does not require the creation of additional classes and the minor is designed so it can be completed in four semesters. Poulter said they chose this design to make the minor appeal to transfer students and foreign students.

“The photojournalism classes in journalism usually don’t have a hard time populating because over half the time they’re not journalism majors anyway,” Poulter said. “A lot of people see the value in narrative and documentary style photography for documenting whatever their group, organization, agency is up to.”

Cassie Buchman contributed to this article.

Chrissy Miller can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]