The Wesleyan Student Assembly’s (WSA) Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) announced its initiative to create official interest lists for prospective minors in an all-campus email on Feb. 10. In addition, the AAC offered an opportunity for any student to petition to have a minor created.
Member of the AAC Lily Herman ’16 spearheaded the movement to create the minors survey based on requests from departments for evidence of student interest.
“Basically first semester we reached out to departments individually and had a preliminary survey done,” Herman said. “A lot of departments wrote back saying, ‘This is interesting, but we want legitimate student interest and actual student names attached to the petition.’”
Chika Oparaji ’16 said she is one of the proponents of the creation of minors because they promote academic exploration.
“I think they are pretty important because they can allow you to study something that you are passionate about while maybe majoring in something more ‘serious’ or ‘productive for society,’” Oparaji said. “They at least provide you with some training and knowledge on a field.”
The AAC reported that a lot of progress has been made this year regarding the creation of minors. Herman said that members of the AAC will file petitions and speak with members of some departments.
“We emailed the entire student body and had one of the most successful polls [the] WSA has had this year,” Herman said. “We are going to be filing petitions with various departments and going in and talking to the departments about why the minor is good for their specific department. Different departments have different dilemmas with creating a minor. Some large departments already have many students. Other departments have a lot more requirements such as 11-14 credits or a study abroad component.”
Many students have expressed a desire for more campus discussions about minors at the University.
“I have yet to decide what my opinion is about minors because we need more information,” said Emma Gilberg ’16. “At first glance they seem like they would help a lot of students on campus.”
Departments that have already created minors include film, economics, French, medieval studies, archeology, and German Studies. Many more departments are on their way to adding a minor component. Students can look forward to seeing new minors added by the end of this semester, according to Herman.
“[The request for a music minor] is gigantic right now,” Herman stated. “I had people poke me on the streets like, ‘Hey, [can we have a] music minor?’ and I was like, ‘Okay I’ll work on it!’ Spanish is also a big thing.”
Herman also offered advice for students looking to create minors in a certain department, mainly suggesting that they visit department members.
“Email the Academic Affairs Committee personally,” Herman said. “Or if you fill out the survey, you will be contacted shortly about when we will talk to the department’s chair and asking if you have anything to add to the petition. [The] best way is to come with me and go to the departments. It is easier to get a minor when there are students actually there who take classes in the department.”