BY JENNIFER ROBACK | MANAGING EDITOR
LIU has announced they will phase out minors at the university, and switch their focus to double major opportunities for students.
In a statement, that has yet to be sent to students or posted online, Dr. Randy Burd, Senior Vice President For Academic Affairs, said,
“LIU is committed to delivering an exceptional learning experience featuring in-demand degree programs with an emphasis on peer-student interaction, faculty expertise, and providing a competitive career advantage. Based on current demand, we are enhancing the student experience by expanding new majors to replace certain minors and enabling students to efficiently pursue double majors which provide a competitive advantage in the career marketplace over those with a major and a minor. Students currently enrolled in a minor can continue to complete their minor.”
When Seawanhaka reached out to ask follow-up questions regarding the statement and further clarification, the administration repeatedly declined to comment.
A minor is meant to give students the opportunity to receive education in another area of study to complement their majors. At LIU, a minor is obtained with 12 credits from a concentration of a student’s choosing.
The decision will affect incoming students, starting in Fall 2021. But, there is no say on if currently enrolled students without a declared minor will be able to pick up a minor between now and the fall. Those currently enrolled in LIU and in a minor(s) will be able to finish out their academic plans.
“Removing a minor option hurts rather than helps students,” said Professor Jose R. Sanchez, chair of the Political Science department at LIU. “Over the years, we have had plenty of students who major in say Journalism or Business and minor in Political Science, we should not penalize or jeopardize that kind of intellectual curiosity and academic development.”
This decision comes with confusion from students, faculty, and staff; as there is little communication from the school, or concrete evidence to prove the argument that getting rid of minors is a good or bad idea.
“[The school] claimed that minors prevent students from progressing smoothly towards graduation. But they could not provide reasons why, nor any data that could support said claim,” Sanchez said.
Many students were also unaware of LIU’s decision to phase out minors. Seawanhaka ran a poll on social media to see how many students were aware of the decision. The results were overwhelming, a whopping 77% of students were unaware of the decision in a poll of nearly 100 LIU students.
“A reason I came to LIU is because I had the option to do both [a major and a minor] instead of just having a major,” said junior Musical Theatre major, and Communications minor, Jade Leah, in an interview with The Pioneer, our sister campus’ newspaper.
“Coming to LIU before my first year, I knew I wanted to major in Journalism and minor in something else,” said Reyna Iwamoto, a sophomore Journalism major at LIU. “After taking graphic design classes I decided I wanted to minor in Media Arts. Hearing about LIU phasing out minors has caused me to start panicking a bit because while I am in the process of filling out the form to declare it, I am worried they might not allow me to complete this minor.”
The school’s decision looks to be solely-based on wanting to shift their concentration on the students ability to double major. A double major is when a student graduates with two degrees, according to LIU’s 2020-21 academic handbook. In order to double major, “students who earn a double major do not earn 2 separate degrees unless a total of at least 150 credits is earned.”
“I wanted to just take a few media arts classes to complement my major and when I found out I only needed 12 credits, I thought it worked out perfectly,” Iwamoto said. “I think minors are a great opportunity for students who do not want to take on the full course load of a double major.”
It is unknown if LIU plans on changing their double major requirements with the decision to phase out minors, or if there is a plan already in place. As of right now, the requirements are 150 credits, whereas a normal degree consists of 120 credits and minors can be included in that number. Getting 150 credits would more-than-likely require students to be enrolled longer than the four years.
“I only heard about this plan to phase out minors through students, it would have been nice to hear a formal announcement from LIU administration,” Iwamoto said.
With so much uncertainty, administration has provided no clarity for students, but Seawanhaka will continue to follow the story and provide updates when (or if) new developments occur.