Culver-Stockton launches “design-your-own” major

Culver-Stockton
launches “design-your-own” major

CANTON,
Mo. – Culver-Stockton College has launched a major in individualized or
interdisciplinary studies that allows students to combine courses in various
disciplines to create a program tailored to a student’s specific talents and
interests. 

“A
few of our students have already developed thoughtful, creative majors that meet
their individual needs for the future.  A
2009 graduate earned the degree in jazz studies that he developed, and other
students are pursuing programs that combine elements of business, law, politics,
and finance,” said R. Joseph Dieker, vice president of academic affairs and dean
of the college.  “Culver-Stockton cannot
offer every major; but working with each student, we can give students the
flexibility to create the program they need to acquire the necessary skills to
pursue their career goals – even if they don’t exactly fit the outline of one of
our more traditional majors.”

Creating
the individualized/interdisciplinary major is the second phase of the college’s
launch of the EXP@CSC curriculum, which combines the rich tradition of a liberal
arts education with hands-on experiential opportunities for students.
Culver-Stockton introduced the curriculum in Fall 2008, which includes an
innovative 12/3 academic calendar. 
Students take three or four courses in the first 12-week portion of each
15-week semester, but most students focus on only one course during the 3-week
portion at the end of each semester. 
EXP@CSC courses offer real-world hands-on opportunities in both the
12-week and 3-week terms.  Courses often
include internships, clinical experiences, interaction with working
professionals, and travel regionally, domestically or abroad.

The
individualized/interdisciplinary major may be taken either as a bachelor of arts
or a bachelor of science degree depending on whether the student completes two
years of a foreign language.  To design
their major, students must work closely with faculty members to combine courses
from a variety of academic disciplines in ways that not only meet their career
goals but that also satisfy graduation requirements, including completion of the
Common Experience courses and a capstone experience. The C-SC Academic Standards
Committee must approve the proposed major at least three semesters before the
student intends to graduate. 

“The
individualized major needs to meet the same rigorous academic criteria as all
our other majors. Students who pursue these majors are not taking the easy way
out.  Often, they are combining courses
that demand more from them in keeping on top of the variety of subjects they are
studying,” added Dieker.

The
third phase of the EXP@CSC academic program – revamped foreign language
requirements for all majors – is expected to launch in Fall 2010.

“In
this day and age, we need to prepare students for a globally connected world,”
Dieker said. “As a small college, we don’t have the resources to provide faculty
in a wide variety of languages, so our faculty will study many options.  There are ways that small colleges are
successfully offering languages – through partnerships, distance learning,
technology and other measures.  It’s too
early to know how Culver-Stockton’s language program will evolve, but we will
work to ensure that our students are prepared for the challenges of the 21st
century.”

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