Minors restructured to offer real-world experience

The College of Arts and Sciences is questioning whether or not its current academic minors help prepare students for jobs and life after college.

Today, the college offers 40 different minors ranging from the sciences to music, art and marketing but is exploring the possibility of restructuring offerings.

“It’s not that there is a problem with the way minors are set up now but some requirements are causing problems with students who were coming from different colleges,” Dennis Papini, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said.

Papini suggests that, while students have a wide variety of minors to choose from, they may not be getting the quality of experience necessary in the real world. He said that while some students may select a minor to gain a new skill, they aren’t enhancing their skill set in order to become more attractive to employers.

“A lot of the minors that we have on our campus, not just with the College of Arts and Sciences, were developed at a time when the value of a minor wasn’t discussed so what you see are very general minors,” Papini said. “It is often hard to determine which skills students acquire since it often depends on which of the elective courses they select.”

While agreeing that Papini’s plan to make the minors more useful for students in the job market is necessary, students and educators agree that students must have several options to choose from.

“I really like the variety and diversity of the minors that we offer,” Jessica Lewis, a professional academic advisor, said. “One thing I’m excited about is the concept of student learning outcomes. If the students are going to earn a minor, they need to know what knowledge and skills they will gain with the minor.”

Lewis said that revising the curriculum for minors will help to make it clear to employers what SDSU graduates are able to do.

Papini says students should have options for minors that are helpful in the long run.

“Having multiple options with minors is valuable for someone like me who has a broader major,” junior Patrick Musil said. “It gives me more options, and I can do more with my major after graduation.”

Musil is currently majoring in entrepreneurial studies but is getting minors in management, leadership and marketing.

“With my major, there isn’t one traditional body of knowledge to cover,” he said. “So the minors help me cover the specific knowledge and skills that I need to get a job.”

Papini said that he hopes that College of Arts and Sciences’ review of minors will include new interdisciplinary options that are more focused on specific skills.

Nick Goeman

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