Despite resistance from Binghamton University administration, Student Association officials hope an individualized minor program will catch a second wind.
Daniel Rabinowitz, vice president for academic affairs of the SA and a junior double-majoring in math and industrial and systems engineering, will present the idea to the Individualized Major Program Committee. The re-proposal comes in light of stringent budget cuts, which could create a limited capacity of resources and advisers available for the program, and concerns that the program would result in larger class sizes.
Rabinowitz got the idea of an individualized minor program from students whose minors have been eliminated because of budget cuts.
‘Departments were ‘ cutting their minors because of financial cuts ‘ students came to me, saying that they wanted to take minors,’ he said.
According to Rabinowitz, the program is still in the ‘building-block process’ and he will present the proposal to the Individualized Major Program Committee. If the proposal is approved, the program could be offered as soon as fall 2011.
He explained the minor program would be akin to the individualized major program but with fewer classes, which allows students to follow different interests. It would be under the purview of Harpur College.
‘The requirements would involve taking anywhere from six to seven classes of a particular department,’ Rabinowitz said. ‘The details of the curriculum would be left up to individual students to work out with a professor from that department they find to act as their adviser.’
Rabinowitz noted the program is ‘about students getting a reward for their intellectual curiosity.’
‘If a student cares enough about a subject to take six or seven classes, he should be rewarded with a minor for his effort,’ he said.
Erika Flores, a junior double-majoring in political science and sociology, agreed.
‘Picking a minor ‘ you are becoming a well-rounded student,’ she said.
Crystal Blair, a junior majoring in biology and minoring in history, said that her minor helps diversify her course load. The minor, she said, ‘helps me with my career goals.’
Rabinowitz proposed the program last year, but said it failed because of poor preparation.
‘The first attempt was not successful because I wasn’t there to present it to the committee,’ he said. ‘The committee received a rough draft of a preliminary proposal ‘ that wasn’t ready to be submitted yet.’
Jill Seymour, the IMP coordinator and associate director of Harpur advising, disagreed. The program requires so few classes and would not promote the necessary ‘intellectual depth’ of the different subjects.
Seymour also explained that the departments don’t have the resources for the influx of students seeking classes. She said that the extra students would make it more difficult for students majoring in the particular field to get into the classes they need to graduate.
‘It would be great to let in more students in all of our classes. It is unfortunate that the classes have to be constricted to majors due to resource constraints,’ said Susan Wolcott, chair of the economics department.
But Rabinowitz insisted that the effect on class size would be minimal.
‘Due to the nature of the ‘ process, you are only going to get a very limited number of select students a semester, at the most, that truly care about the subjects they’re taking on as a minor,’ Rabinowitz said.
Rabinowitz will meet with the committee in the next two weeks. He hopes the proposal’s completion and his presence at the meeting will change the outcome.