Bachelors of General Studies may be headed to Western this coming fall
By Matthew Hunt
April 13, 2012
This fall students may have a chance to major in a degree they never thought possible.
This degree is like any other said Cindy Heider, Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. She said the real strengths of this program are that it recruits back individuals who might have left the university for some reason.
“We believe there are about 1,300 individuals out there,” Heider said. “They have credits, but have not yet finished a degree; we want to help these individuals.”
The bachelor in General Studies is not designed for freshmen to declare. It is intended for two main groups. Brian Cronk, associate provost and dean of the graduate school, said the bachelors in General Studies degree was designed as a completion degree. One group is students with a large number of hours who need to change their major for some reason. The other group is people in the community who are not currently enrolled but are very close to a degree.
“Overall this is a very positive thing for certain kinds of students,” Cronk said.
Students of Western who decide to major in General Studies could be at an advantage, as a majority of professors and chairs of departments believe it’s a great degree to bring to campus.
David Tushaus, professor of legal studies and department chair, said that bringing this degree to Western makes it possible for students who have a lot of college credits to try and make the most of their situation by getting back on the right track. He said with this degree students who were unable to finish a particular degree are now able too.
“I see no reason why having this degree at Western is a bad thing,” Tushaus said. “If anything it makes students more marketable.”
Students who decide to major in this degree may wonder if this degree could lead to a career after graduation. Cronk believes the answer is yes.
“It is not a professional studies type degree. It is a liberal arts degree in the purest sense of that degree,” Cronk said. “This is a degree about education not technical training.”
The aspects behind bringing the program to Western seem positive, but a few professors still see concerns towards a bachelors in General Studies.
Dr. Michael Charlton, assistant professor of english, said the main disadvantage is the curriculum, which was heavily discussed.
“Something brought up in my department was that a general studies degree doesn’t necessarily prepare students for any specific career path,” Charlton said. “It might not be as helpful if you’re seeking a specific career goal.”
Cronk also commented and believes that this degree is not career-oriented.
If everything goes according to plan, Western will see this bachelor’s degree put into effect by the fall 2012 semester. The coordinating board of higher education will determine the decision this June.