Students confront new major requirements

When students met with their advisers last week to prepare for upcoming class registration, some learned of major curriculum changes that could impact their academic futures. 

Advising and curriculum changes differ by college. For example, the College of Communication uses faculty members as advisers and the College of Arts & Sciences has an additional advising center, located in Marquette Hall.

Mary Minson, director of the College of Arts & Sciences’s advising center, said she encourages students to utilize the advising center outside of the college’s mandatory advising with faculty members. She said she wants to get to know the students she works with in order to better their experience.

“I think it’s a whole process of getting to know the students,” Minson said.

Minson said students can come to the center for help with transitioning from high school to college, major advice and information on study abroad and tutoring programs.

The college curriculum can be changed by administrators and the board of undergraduate studies. Minson said the advising staff is notified of these changes in order to help the students, especially in planning out courses.

“A lot of the majors in communication have changed in the past two years,” Minson said. “The requirements have also changed.”

The curriculum often changes in all of Marquette’s colleges, but this year, the curriculum in the College of Communication has changed drastically.

Karen Slattery, associate professor and chair of journalism, helped in developing the new journalism curriculum, which focuses more on digital media.

“The faculty recognized that the field is changing dramatically and more and more news organizations are looking for students with multimedia experience,” Slattery said.

Slattery said recent graduates and Lori Bergen, dean of the College of Communication, advised the college to incorporate more multimedia in the classroom. Slattery has a broadcasting background and said the broadcasting and electronic communication major requirements have also changed.

She said the curriculum now allows for students to take more electives with multimedia, but writing intensive courses will still be offered. Students will take about the same number of courses, but more of the electives will have a multimedia twist.

Slattery said advising will be critical in registering for classes because students need to plan their classes in accordance with these changes.

“I wouldn’t try to go through advising on my own,” she said. “You need to work very closely with your adviser to make sure you are walked through the whole process.”

Herbert Lowe, journalism professional in residence, assisted in creating a website illustrating the curriculum changes, including a description of the classes.

Slattery and Lowe presented the website and curriculum changes to one of Lowe’s digital journalism classes. Students voiced concerns and gave input on the program’s future development.

Carolyn Portner, a sophomore in the College of Communication and a broadcasting and electronic communication major, said she likes having faculty as her advisers for the college, without having a separate center.

“I kind of think it makes it more personal because my advisers are my teachers,” Portner said.

But Portner said she has been trying to coordinate her classes to fit in a double major and graduate on time, something she said might not be able to do if the curriculum keeps changing.

Although the changes pose planning problems, Portner said she is glad the college focuses on new technology and changes in the industry. She said she has already had a lot of help in using social media professionally to help her major.

“The resources and classes we have help us keep up with the changes in technology,” Portner said.