College Council Talks New Minors and Middle States


Students speaking with professors at College Council. Two new minors were given a positive recommendation during the council meeting (PHOTO BY CONNOR MANNION/THE OBSERVER)


On Thursday, April 7, College Council met for the final time in the spring semester to culminate discussion on online summer courses for undergraduates, as well as discuss the overall positive report of the Middle States evaluators.

According to Robert Grimes, dean of Fordham College at Lincoln Center, the Middle States evaluators recommendation used “generally positive language.”

“There is an optimism all around, CUSP being the most visible symbol, Fordham’s dreams and ambitions will be strained by limited resources and will need a long term budgeting model to assist in planning toward future needs. The sense of mission is pervasive at Fordham, and it is one of it’s greatest strengths. Through this, Fordham is more than ready to meet the needs of the 21st century.

Of course, the evaluation team had concerns, two specifically being the complex two campus structure of the University and diversity. Grimes said the evaluation noted “diversity is an issue that needs to be attended to, both in faculty and students.”

There were multiple votes in this session, all of which passed including a recommendation for a minor in Jewish Studies and a change in the Psychology major starting in fall 2016. There was also a positive recommendation toward a marketing minor, which had been discussed at previous College Councils with no vote.

Grimes pointed out that the problems of a marketing minor only having classes at Rose Hill have been resolved, as the department of communication and media studies added a number of Lincoln Center courses that fulfill the marketing minor’s requirements. With the addition of the Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center, Fordham Lincoln Center now has the resources to allow students to take this minor.

Karen Siedlecki, assistant professor and associate chair of the psychology department, introduced a change to the psychology major, adding a class on focusing on diversity issues as a requirement to the major to start in fall 2016. “Essentially, it’s the exact same major, but now one of the courses has to focus on diversity,” she said. “It doesn’t change anything in terms of the courses they have to take, but most of the courses are junior and senior level courses.”

After some discussion about the specifics of this change, the vote to make a positive recommendation on this change passed unanimously.

There was a final vote for the implementation of a Jewish Studies minor. Like the women’s studies major and minor, this field of study would exist by counting already existing classes as an interdisciplinary minor field of study. There were some reservations about recommended language classes, like Hebrew, that could count for the major, according to Carey Kasten, associate professor and chair of the department of modern languages and literature.

“We already have a department in modern languages that is entirely adjuncts and it’s very difficult, so I have reservations about adding another,” Kasten said. However, since Hebrew is not required for the minor, the vote to recommend establishment of a Jewish studies minor still passed.

Grimes also stressed members of college council to attend both the Ars Nova undergraduate research symposium, which features the work of over 100 participants, and an end-of-year reception on May 5, “where we will honor our retiree Leonard Nissim.” Nissim is assistant professor and associate chair of the mathematics department, and has been an active member of College Council as well.

College Council finally put an end to the debate on allowing undergraduates to take one online summer course, voting to make a positive recommendation to the Council of Arts and Sciences. Christopher Maginn, professor of the history department, said “we the historians of the department believe it is time for us to embrace new technologies, given that we are living in this digital age.”

The vote to make a positive recommendation was passed following clarification from the board that they only would allow undergraduates a limit of one summer online course in their tenure at Fordham University.

In terms of other Fordham news, Grimes announced that the University has a new link to world politics. “Fritz Jean, a graduate of Fordham, was just named the new prime minister of Haiti,” Grimes said in his round-up of announcements related to Fordham news.  According to his biography, Jean studied economics and mathematics at Fordham and the New School. “Let’s hope he’s honest,” Grimes quipped.

College Council will reconvene in fall 2016.