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For most students, UWRF drops minor requirement

April 22, 2015

Beginning in fall 2015 semester, most students at UW-River Falls will no longer have to complete a minor.

This motion was proposed by the Executive Committee and voted on by Faculty Senate on March 25, and will apply to all students with the provision that the provost will be authorized to exempt programs that must have a minor, including standards established by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) or accreditation purposes, according to the motion document.

The change to make minors optional for students was part of a broader effort to try to provide students the flexibility that they will need to pursue courses that meet their personal and professional goals, according to Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies Wes Chapin.

This reevaluation of the UWRF curriculum is due to the recently proposed $300 million UW System budget cut. Because this isn’t the first cut UWRF has faced, explained Chapin, no matter what decision is made to try to combat the cuts, there will be significant impact on the university.

Chapin also stated that he doesn’t think a lack of a minor will negatively affect students’ ability to obtain jobs in the future.

“I think if a student is careful and they work with their advisor, and they have a solid major, and they complement that with either an optional minor or that they also select key courses in areas that might be helpful to them, that they can put that forward as a package to an employer and really market themselves very well,” Chapin said.

Hannah Giehtbrock, a junior at UWRF, does not see this change as a good thing.

“I think it’s kind of ridiculous because we’re changing everything that we had instated,” Giehtbrock said. “So now some kids are on one track and other kids are on other tracks. It’s really confusing.”

Other students, however, see this change as an opportunity. Molly Deering is a freshman English education major who is relieved by the change to the minor requirement.

“I kind of like it, because I didn’t know what I wanted to do for my minor,” Deering said. “So now I don’t even have to worry about it.”

Deering also explained that she doesn’t know whether or not she will pursue a minor, but she likes the fact that she now has the option.

Chapin also said that he doesn’t think that this will cause a decrease in minors, but the lack of a minor requirement and the ability to double-count credits will allow students more options when it comes to picking courses that meet their goals as well as study abroad opportunities.

“If you go from 24 [minor] credits potentially down to 24 elective credits, you could easily do 12 or 15 credits in a semester as a student in a study abroad experience,” Chapin said. “And I’ve got to believe that there’s a lot of value in immersing yourself in a foreign culture for three plus months and getting that really in-depth experience.”

Chapin explained that this change to the minor requirement will be assessed and reevaluated in a few years, depending on the budgetary options available to the university at that time, and changes could be made.