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Academic Affairs UPC Update: Program and Policy Changes; New Degree Program

I am pleased to announce that a number of proposals for academic program changes, policy changes, and new programs considered by the Academic Affairs University Policy Committee have been approved in the final months of the 2015-16 academic year. Among them are expanded options for students pursuing a second bachelor’s degree, stand-alone major and department status for Ethnic Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies, changes in Liberal Studies to include a name change and updated curriculum, and the creation of a new undergraduate Neuroscience degree.

Expanded Options for Second Bachelor’s Degrees
Undergraduate students who wish to pursue a concurrent second bachelor’s degree as part of their studies at Santa Clara now have additional options from which to choose. Although students have been able to pursue double majors, university policy has not allowed students to pursue two concurrent bachelor of arts degrees. The changes I approved in June will allow students to pursue concurrent bachelor’s degrees in any two of the following areas: bachelor of arts in the arts, bachelor of arts in the humanities, bachelor of science in a natural science, bachelor of science in a social science, bachelor of science in commerce, and bachelor of science in engineering. This proposal was initiated by two of our graduating seniors in 2016. After extensive consultation, the Academic Affairs Committee recommended approval. At the request of the Academic Affairs Committee, the Undergraduate Studies Council is currently drafting the lists of majors that will be considered under the new policy.

Ethnic Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies Stand-Alone Majors and Department Status
Ethnic Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies were approved as stand-alone majors by the Board of Trustees in February and received approval by the Trustees for department status in June. Previously, both majors were companion majors, which required students to declare a primary major in another discipline, and both academic units held program status. The Ethnic Studies proposals described the role of the program at Santa Clara as “vital to producing conscious, compassionate, and culturally competent students who can function as good citizens in an increasingly diverse world.” This is a distinction that is rightly attributed to Women’s and Gender Studies as a field, as well; the description reflects the contributions of both departments’ faculties and students in advancing the university’s pursuit of our Jesuit mission to cultivate knowledge and faith to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world.

Liberal Studies to Become Child Studies and Undergo Program Changes
In June, I approved a proposal from Liberal Studies to rename its academic unit and major as Child Studies in order to better reflect the foundational discipline of the curriculum on issues of child development, teacher education, and sociology of family. This change will be accompanied by a recalibration of the current Liberal Studies curriculum to focus on preparing undergraduates for vocations focused on children in school and community settings. The changes will take effect in fall 2017.

New Neuroscience Degree Coming in 2017
The Board of Trustees approved the creation of a new Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience in June, to begin in fall 2017. The major will be housed in an interdisciplinary program drawing upon Santa Clara’s faculty expertise in biology and psychology. Undergraduate majors will be prepared with the fundamental biological and psychological underpinnings of the nervous system at many levels, from the molecular level to patient symptomatology. Students will also explore the role of the environment in development and ethical issues related to brain ­behavior.

A complete record of the Academic Affairs University Policy Committee’s activities in the 2015-16 academic year, including proposals and approval dates, is available for review in the committee’s End of Year Summary Report.