University News

Four concentrations made independent

Contributing Writer
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Four rarely studied concentration tracks have been re-categorized as pre-approved independent concentrations as of this academic year.

The College Curriculum Council has placed tracks or concentrations that had zero or one concentrator over the past three years in a “special Independent Concentration status,” wrote Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron in an email to The Herald.

The move affects the German, French and Italian tracks within the Department of Modern Culture and Media and the statistics concentration within the Public Health Program. All four have had consistently low numbers of concentrators, according to Bergeron.

“If one of these concentrations continues to attract no concentrators for a sustained period, even as an independent concentration, the CCC will probably recommend removing (it) from the list of (pre-approved) options,” she wrote.

The re-categorization will have little impact on students concentrating in these tracks, Bergeron wrote. Because of the dearth of concentrators, students pursuing these tracks would essentially complete them independently regardless of the re-categorization, she wrote.

While most independent concentrations require “multiple phases of formulation and approvals,” these four pre-approved tracks do not.

When asked about the status change, Anthony Cokes, professor of MCM and the department’s director of undergraduate studies, characterized the move as unremarkable. “They were always intended to be small concentrations for students who had intense interests in both languages and culture and media studies,” he said.

The move does not compromise the quality of undergraduate education, Bergeron wrote. “We value intellectual diversity, and we also want to ensure that students have good information in order to make good choices. Some students have a high degree of success when left to work independently. Others prefer to be in an environment with many other students, so that they learn from others.”