Discourse / Editorials / May 9, 2018

Thoughts from the Embers: Be careful with precedents set by new programs

This week at their monthly meeting, faculty voted and approved adding the Integrative Business and Management Major and a Peace and Justice minor to the catalog this summer. Students will be allowed to enroll in the new major and minor for the Fall Term. We are excited to see new changes being made to Knox’s curriculum and are happy that students now have the option to declare a major in business.

While there are students who will benefit greatly from the option to declare a major in business, and while we agree that the world needs Knox-educated business students, the college cannot keep adding new majors and minors in the hopes to attract students to Knox. Every year, new minors (and occasionally a major) is added to the curriculum. These majors and minors may or may not attract students to the school, and they may or may not get more than a handful of students declaring these as their majors or minors.

We believe that it is good to have these new opportunities available to students and we do think that they have the potential to attract new, innovative thinkers to the college. However, we are concerned that our faculty, time and resources are in danger of being spread too thin in areas that are not fully developed when we create these new opportunities.

Faculty are our greatest resources and that means that we should try to avoid losing them and stretching them too thin to create new majors and minors if they are not fully developed with the appropriate amount of faculty available to teach and advise students.

We also believe that as an institution we cannot keep creating these new areas of study that might not work out in the end unless we are also open to ending the programs when they don’t work the way we have planned. The college should not shy away from cost-cutting opportunities when they are necessary. We have witnessed this happening with Geology, which is still being mourned after being cut.

However, it is worth mentioning that the requirements for the business major cover many topics that are not seen in standard business programs and include an ethical component. We are also glad to see that the Peace and Justice minor will be encouraging students to carry out Knox’s strong history of student activism. These are important qualities that we hope to continue as we move forward in the creation of Knox’s new curriculum.

Overall, we are excited to see Knox taking a step into the future by providing the new business major, which has been requested for many years by students. We would also like to take the time to applaud the Curriculum Committee for their commitment to providing new and exciting opportunities for Knox students. Over the past three years, we have diligently watched and reported on the curriculum overhaul and we are impressed with the work and commitment put in to modernize the Knox curriculum.

TKS Editorial Board

Tags:  curriculum faculty majors minors

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