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New FDU Curriculum: Ciao History, Adios Español

By Samantha Hart and Admir Durakovic
Lifestyle Editor and Editor-in-Chief

TEANECK, N.J. – The students will be affected. The professors will be affected. The staff will be affected. Fairleigh Dickinson University announced that they will be altering the curriculum come Fall 2020.

According to fdu.edu, these alterations include the removal of University College, which housed “psychology, criminal justice, education, the natural sciences, nursing, engineering and technology, computer science, media and communication and the humanities …as well as special areas of concentration, minors, and certificates.”

With the new changes, many professors and students alike are left guessing what will come in the future, blinded by the sudden changes while also hopeful for potential opportunities.

Dr. Sam J. Raphalides, professor of political science and history and Director of the School of Criminal Justice, Political Science, and International Studies, explained that the entire program that he directs will be separated because of this curricula change. Raphalides also said that, although there will be little impact administratively, “academically, there may be unforeseen consequences for particular majors.”

There are two majors that will be eliminated from the University for incoming freshmen: History and Spanish. Any students currently in those programs will have their graduation needs met, but any incoming students will not have these available.

Raphalides predicted that the demise of University College will reveal to have “the most significant impact for students,” along with “the creation of free standing schools,” of which he was informed by Viki Cohen, Dean of University College.

The Student Government Association were not informed about these changes however.

“We definitely found out (about the changes) at the same time as everyone else,” SGA President Maame Mensah said. “I feel like the administration struggles to alert SGA of certain things before hand. I remember last year, when there was the schedule change, SGA didn’t know. We found out at the same time as everyone else. Everyone was like “SGA why didn’t you let us know?” or “SGA why didn’t you prepare us?” The whole organization took a lot of blame when we really didn’t know.

Despite the lack of transparency from the administration, Mensah does not believe that this a negative change for the students.

“This is more of an opportunity not a struggle,” Mensah said. “For example, my friend wanted to take criminology but FDU Metro didn’t have that (course). If you really wanted to take a class, Metro is allowing students to have access (to the other campus).”

With enough support and interaction within the new curriculum, Mensah sees an opportunity to improve the transition into the new system and a chance to help out with transportation between the two campuses.

“Maybe down the line once they see a lot of students are merging classes on both campuses, maybe they’ll add a shuttle system,” Mensah said. “That’s something we can all push for to make happen.”

The University will also be increasing the number of independent schools from four to 10 as a result of the breakdown of University College, Becton College, Petrocelli College and Silberman College of Business.

The University will now consist of 10 independent schools: Maxwell Becton College of Arts and Sciences. Gildart Haase School of Computer Sciences and Engineering, Peter Sammartino School of Education, Henry P. Becton School of Nursing and Allied Health, School of Psychology and Counseling, Silberman College of Business, Petrocelli College of Continuing Studies, International School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, School of Pharmacy and Health Science, and the School of Public and Global Affairs, according to fdu.edu.

However, this breakdown of the schools will result in “no appreciable change at the course level” for any of Raphalides courses, according to the professor.

Another aspect of the changes include a reduction in the number of general education requirements. The current number of general education requirements ranges from 46 credits in Becton College to 53 credits in University College; the future number of requirements is 41, according to fdu.edu.

“Whatever the opportunity is, it is not demonstrable at this point. I do not see the changes as a barrier just as unnecessary,” Raphalides said.

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