LSA bids farewell to Spanish minor

BY JASON Y. LIN

Published April 12, 2006

In years to come, Spanish minors are likely to become an increasingly rare breed on campus.

Soon, they may even be extinct.

The LSA Curriculum Committee unanimously approved a three-year suspension of the Spanish minor Tuesday. Pending final approval from the LSA Executive Committee, the change will be effective starting with next year's freshman class.

It will not effect currently enrolled students.

The elimination aims to address the chronic enrollment problem in upper-level Spanish classes, which consistently has more demand for spots than the University can meet with its resources.

Peggy McCracken, chair of the Department of Romance Languages, said the department regularly receives more students than it has resources to accommodate, especially in upper-level classes.

"We are concerned about telling students that they can minor in Spanish when all upper-level classes are full," she said. "The suspension of the minor will free up places in classes that are currently restricted only to Spanish majors and minors."

There are currently 350 declared majors and 267 declared minors in the undergraduate Spanish program.

Spanish major Ruben Adery said the minor offers many advantages, providing students with a well-rounded education.

"The minor gives students the chance to build Spanish skills while pursuing other areas of study," Adery said.

The proposed three-year duration of the suspension enables the Curriculum Committee to review the changes two years after their implementation to assess its effects, committee members said.

Robert Megginson, LSA associate dean for undergraduate and graduate education, said the minor was too popular for its own good.

"It was really an issue of resources," he said. "Demand for this minor has been absolutely overwhelming to the point where we were convinced that it was, in effect, suffering from its own success."

LSA Student Government representatives argued against the minor's elimination.

LSA-SG members successfully lobbied for a provision that ensures currently enrolled students will continue to have access to the Spanish minor.

Paige Butler, outgoing vice president of LSA-SG, stressed the importance of student involvement in such decisions.

"I think that any decision departments make should account for student opinion," she said. "When changes are made, students are obviously going to be affected, some more than others."

The committee, which reviews all proposed changes to the curriculum, is composed of members of student government, faculty and University administrators.

Spanish major vs. minor

Requirements for students in the Spanish minor and major program:

Major

At least 30 credits in the Spanish program beyond Spanish 276, including Education 420, a class on teaching world languages; 410, phonetics and phonology; and 411, advanced syntax.

Nine to 12 requirements must be at the 300 level and nine to 12 at the 400 level.

Minor

At least 20 credits in the Spanish program beyond Spanish 275. Those must include 276, a reading and comprehension course, and either 410, phonetics and phonology, or 411, advanced syntax

Six to nine credits must be at the 300 level and six to nine must be at the 400 level.