BW Offers Students Opportunity to Create a Major

Elizabeth Sweeny, Contributing Writer

Baldwin Wallace University has a variety of majors and programs offered to students, but many students do not know they also have the unique option to create their own interdepartmental major or minor. Though this option could open up endless possibilities, not many students take advantage.
“We only have about four or five students each semester who seek information about interdepartmental majors,” Shannon Fee, BW Academic Advising Assistant, said. “Out of those, not all of them always go through with the process.”
For students who love BW but cannot find a discipline that directly corresponds with their career aspirations, creating their own program could be a viable alternative. By creating their own academic path, rather than doubling their credit hours while pursuing two or more majors, many students could pare down their course load to the necessities.
To take advantage of this opportunity, students must seek permission from three department chairs for a major or two to create a minor. The major that a student creates must be unlike any other major that the university offers, and corresponding classses must be available.
Fee says that students should discuss their plans with the faculty and chairs of each department that they desire to work with on their major. After doing this, she encourages students to write the required proposal that lists the description of the major or minor along with a list of classes the student wishes to take.
Majors require 36 credit hours with 15 being at the 300-400 level, while minors require 17 with nine at the 300-400 level. The department chairs and the Office of Registration and Records then approve or disapprove the proposal.
Junior Abbey Vensel has gone through this process and as a result, created her own interdepartmental Community Arts Education major. “My major consists of the music Education, Theatre, and Arts Management departments,” Vensel said.
Advisors are a big help when forming a proposal. “Students normally keep their same advisors, or receive an advisor from the department in which they are taking the most classes,” Fee said.
Advisors also offer helpful guidance throughout this process for those in college for the first time and those who are returning.
“Many delayed students have a lot of credits under their belts from years past, but they may not fulfill the requirements of any of our majors,” Fee said. “They have the option to use the credits they have to come up with a meaningful major.”
If enough students replicate a student-created major or minor, it has potential to become an official discipline of the university. For instance, the Middle Eastern and North African studies minor was created by a student and became popular among his peers. BW began offering it as an established minor for the first time this semester.
The interdepartmental major and minor options allow students to have a unique BW experience and influence academic changes on campus. For more information, visit Shannon Fee in the Academic Advising Office, located in Bonds Hall, room 106.