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Monday, November 2, 2015

Reviewing the CLA major project requirement

CLA has only a few college-wide requirements for its undergraduate degrees. One of those is the Senior or Major Project. Last year, the Curriculum, Instruction, and Advising (CI&A) Committee recommended to me that the Major Project requirement be re-examined. CLA’s website states only that

CLA requires that students complete a major project. The project demonstrates analytic and conceptual skills as well as an understanding of the mode of inquiry characteristic of the discipline. For most majors the format of the project is a paper.

The committee noted that “while CLA currently requires a senior project, there are no guidelines for such a project, and to say that practice across the College is widely varied is a tremendous understatement.”

Based on CI&A’s recommendation, I will soon be appointing a task force to examine the Major/Senior Project requirement and how the requirement is met in practice across the college. The group will include some members from CI&A along with other faculty and staff. The group will both examine current practices and make recommendations. If you would be interested in participating, please let me know.

Separately, CI&A this year will also examine where bottlenecks exist for our transfer students. Transfer students are over 40 percent of the students entering CLA each year, so it is important that we take care to avoid unnecessary obstacles to declaring a major and graduating in a timely manner.