Next year, a few of Northwestern’s academic departments will look a bit different than they have in the past several years. These departments include the communications department as well as the music department.
Typically it requires two professors to maintain a department, but for the last two years Ann Minnick has been the only full-time professor for the communications department. To preserve the communications department, adjuncts have been teaching a few courses along with Minnick.
“When you build a major, there are certain rules from the academic side of the campus that you need to follow to have a major,” Minnick said.
Besides having two professors to maintain departments, there are certain requirements to keep a major legitimate. These requirements include a specific number of credits offered within the department, credits offered outside of the department as electives, higher level courses, writing-intensive courses and a senior seminar.
“When you have a 45-48 credit major, one person cannot teach all of those credits,” Minnick said.
Because of these challenges and lack of enrollment in the communications program, the 2016-2017 period the last year that the department will exist on campus. Journalism is no longer offered as a major to incoming students, and current declared journalism majors will have a few more challenges in finishing out their major. Students might need to take courses through Dordt College or combine two courses that are still offered to equal the one course they still need.
The public relations major that was once the other half of the communication department will be moving to the business department.
Minnick is following the public relations major and will continue to teach the majority of the classes required for the major by herself.
“The reality is that I need to teach the foundations and theory classes,” Minnick said.
Another change that will affect the next school year is the absence of Heather Josselyn-Cranson along with the music ministry major.
“The music department was obviously hurt by that because that’s one part of the music department,” Josselyn-Cranson said. “We consider it all one department working together. It’s been really confusing for the students within the major because the music major is eliminated but the minor is still present. Why is there a minor if there isn’t a major?”
The music ministry major has been cut in order to make room for the theatre department’s worship arts major. Junior music ministry major Alecia Olson talks about her thoughts regarding the major changes.
“I think it will be a positive thing with the new program that they are establishing,” Olson said. “There are few people involved in the music ministry program, it makes sense that there will be a broader program like the worship arts major that people can get involved in with.
After this year, Josselyn-Cranson will be working at Regis College near Boston recreating the music department there as well as teaching classes in music and religion.