As of this academic year, both Neuroscience and Global Health have been added to DePauw’s list of majors. Statistics and World Literature have also been included as possible minors.
In order to activate new majors and minors, several steps are taken to ensure the sustainability of the addition.
Faculty and staff must be aware of national educational conversations and what other schools in the Great Lakes Colleges Association are instituting within their curricula. The interests of DePauw students, the majors and minors they are independently and consistently creating, as well as the expertise professors bring to the table are other factors considered when creating a new major.
“That’s what a major is,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Anne Harris, “It’s a framework of knowledge.”
Once these factors are considered, current curriculum must be reviewed in order to determine whether courses already exist to fulfill the proposed major or minor requirements, or if some must be added. Then, the curriculum committee reviews the proposed changes and, finally, a vote is cast during a faculty meeting.
According to Harris, Neuroscience and Global Health were developed relatively quickly, taking a year to finalize. “It’s a university commitment,” Harris said.
The Neuroscience major will be added to the newly named “Psychology and Neuroscience Department.”
“In designing the major, we wanted students to get hands-on experience at different levels of analysis, so the required courses included laboratory experience with intracellular and extracellular recording in lower animal models (e.g., crayfish) and human electrophysiology,” Psychology Professor, Robert West explained, “In addition to this research experience, majors will also gain experience writing a research grant proposal that should help prepare them for graduate or professional school, or work in industry.”
Junior Carly Trulock is the first department neuroscience major at DePauw and is very excited about it. “The major is flexible and allows students to decide which direction they want to take with the major, whether that be biology, chemistry, or psychology heavy neuroscience, by way of all the electives,” Trulock said, “I’m a double major in biology and neuroscience and loving every minute.”
In contrast, Global Health is a stand-alone major. Statistics is imbedded within the Mathematics department, whereas World Literature is a stand-alone minor.
With these additions to DePauw’s curriculum, the university hopes to provide the type of courses students request and plans to continue to add to the growing list of majors and minors in the future.