New academic minors provide more opportunities for students

UNA students will have 11 more academic minors across various disciplines to choose from in next fall’s undergraduate catalog. The board of trustees-in an annual catalog revision resolution-approved the new minors for the 2012-2013 year this past December.

New minors include space planning and design, broadcast journalism, mass communication, public relations, security and emergency management, therapeutic nutrition, food management, sales, marketing communications and technology, human resources management and project management, according to the resolution.

New minors are chosen based on student interest, said Dr. Vagn Hansen, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“We don’t determine student interest with formal surveys,” he said. “It’s more informal. We talk with professors, department chairs and faculty about what students are talking about and what they want.”

Another factor in determining which new minors to propose to the board of trustees is keeping up with changes in the workforces in different fields, Hansen said.

“Criminal justice and related areas-like security and emergency management-have changed significantly in recent years,” he said. “That’s why we added the security and emergency management minor.”

Students can approach choosing a minor in one of two ways, said Dr. Gregory Pitts, chair of the Department of Communications.

“Minors can either directly complement a major or serve as an alternative skill,” he said. “They are a way to put more tools in your tool box.”

Even majors for specific skills can be attractive to employers in different fields, Pitts said.

“Broadcast journalism is story telling-essentially gathering and conveying information,” he said. “There’s not an employer anywhere who doesn’t want employees with good written and communication skills.”

Chair of the Department of Human Environmental Sciences Department Dr. Jane Wilson said the new minors in her department-space planning and design, food management and therapeutic nutrition-are determined by direct student interest.

“All of the changes come as a result of student requests, conversations with professors and surveys,” she said. “We typically ask them for suggestions when they present their senior portfolios because they have already been through the programs and know what we need to look at.”

The new human environmental sciences minors will go well in conjunction with many different majors, Wilson said.

“The food management minor would go fabulously with any major that might put the student working in an institution with some sort of cafeteria,” she said. “Having more skills makes you more marketable.”

Students can examine the specific requirements and coursework for the new academic minors in the 2012-2013 undergraduate catalog, which was recently released on campus.