Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Maggie Kane, Staff Writer
Junior Martha Pidcock discovered a change in the political science curriculum when she re-enrolled in Introduction to Political Theory, a core requirement. She took the class earlier in her academic career, but dropped it before the quarter ended.
After talking to her professor, she learned she could switch into one of three other classes that now fulfilled this part of the major. “It was a little annoying because there was a class offered at the same time [as Introduction to Political Theory] that I wanted to take,” she said.
Registrar Ted Witryk said that in cases like these, students have the opportunity to decide whether or not they wish to fulfill the new requirements. Some, like Pidcock, may choose to move to the new catalog to complete their major in an easier manner.
Other students, however, can choose to stick to the requirements in place when they enrolled at K.
“There are departments that suggest you follow the new curriculum,” said Witryk. “Students always have the option to fulfill the options of the catalog they entered.”
Chair of the English department Amelia Katanski said the major does not change requirements very often. A recent sophomore seminar decision, however, did not allow for complete student flexibility.
The department eliminated the English-specific sophomore seminar requirement and added new requirements for senior-level courses. Freshmen who attended K when the change happened could no longer take the class.
Katanski said the department did not have enough staff to offer the course for another year. “That was a bit unusual in that case,” she said.
For interdisciplinary majors, small course changes frequently occur but have little effect on a student’s course of study.
“Because so many of our courses come from so many different departments, there’s always going to be some shift from year to year,” said Department Head John Dugas. As long as course changes do not decrease the amount of classes focused on a region, he said, the major continues as usual, albeit with slight shifts in available courses.
While changes can cause confusion, Dugas and Katanski cited concerns about student learning as the main reason for shifting the catalog. Pidcock, though slightly annoyed by her own experience, understands the way in which new course requirements can help others.
“I’m glad they’re changing [required courses] for people in the future,” she said. “Students in the future can benefit.”