Film and French Get Minors
The Educational Policy Committee (EPC) recently passed a motion approving the French Studies and Film Studies minors at Wesleyan. In the spring of 2012, the faculty passed the EPC’s motion to allow departments to create minors. This year, the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) is helping departments write proposals for minors.
AAC Chair Sam Ebb ’13 explained the steps that were taken to pass these minors. The department submits the minor proposal to the EPC, of which Ebb and the vice chair of the Academic Affairs Committee are voting members. The EPC reviews the proposal and, provided it meets their criteria for having a coherent course of study, votes to pass it.
At the AAC’s last meeting, the members voted to pass Film and French Studies minors.
Ebb explained that the reason Film Studies and French Sudies were passed as minors is that courses within these departments are in relatively high demand. Chair of the Film Studies Department Jeanine Basinger echoed this statement.
“As soon as we heard that minors were available, we [leapt] to do one, because obviously there’s a tremendous interest in the Film major at Wesleyan,” Basinger said. “We do turn people away from the major. We have overcrowding. We don’t have enough cameras, equipment, faculty to handle large numbers of people, so we know there’s a big interest in people wanting to take Film courses. And we thought this would be an ideal way to be able to give people a good program of study in Film that was organized and coherent, but that then would still mean that we could continue the major at the size that we have it.”
Chair of the Romance Languages & Literatures Department Jeff Rider noted that the French Department faces similar issues of overcrowding.
“Our courses in French are such that there is no room for any more students,” he said. “Our courses are all full already.”
Associate Professor of Romance Languages & Literatures and head of the French section Typhaine Leservot agreed.
“We do have a cap in our classes most of the time,” she said. “It is capped at 18, and we won’t change that pedagogical cap because we have more students.”
Both Leservot and Basinger plan for the French and Film Studies minors to maintain the high level of rigor seen in their respective majors.
“We still want our students to reach a certain level in the language which is why our gateway to the minor is also the gateway to the major and our grade minimum is the same for majors and minors,” Leservot said. “Linguistically, we are hoping to have students that can perform at the same level whether majors or minors.”
Basinger noted that the Film minor will still have depth as well as breadth.
“We have over 20 available classes, and we also have it organized so that you can take kind of unrelated courses that just reflect your interest in film generally, or we have little clusters that are organized around a specific thing,” Basinger said. “For instance, writing for film and television, or international and global cinema, or genre studies…So we have it very well organized and deep. It’s not just ‘here are some classes you can take and get a minor.’ We have a lot of choices. I think people will be happy with it. I just hope we don’t get so many people that we’re swamped.”
Basinger’s own courses won’t be open to minors.
As for future minors in the other Romance Languages, Rider said he was unsure.
“I think they are waiting to see what happens to us,” he said.
Ebb hinted that the Russian language and Literature minor may be the next one to be approved. When asked if all departments will create minors, Ebb said it was up to each department. He said that the Government department, for instance, would likely not create a minor program since they already have many majors.
“Some Departments are much more amenable to them than others,” he said. “We are not going to have a government minor—at least that was the case when the departments were approached last year…Some departments aren’t going to have them but we are going to work to continue pushing, especially [for the departments] that students are particularly interested in, such as languages, psychology…and music. We don’t know if these will definitively happen, but…we will try to work with the departments to get out there.”
Additional reporting contributed by Features Editor Claire Bradach.