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8/15/02 - New Degree Programs Add to Reinhardt's Foundation

Congregations sing of their faith in the hymn "How Firm A Foundation," and homes are judged on the strength of their foundation. So how is the foundation of a college judged? By the strength and variety of its academic program.

Reinhardt's foundation will grow stronger as the fall semester begins with four new degree programs and 12 minors. The subjects of history, music, English and religion are "central to the historical core of the liberal arts traditionï" according to Dr. Curtis Lindquist, dean of the school of arts and humanities.

"There is both an interest and a set of justifications for each of these new majors," Lindquist said. "These degrees will make an impact. Upper class students will be retained; greater extracurricular programs will be offered in the form of special speakers, etc."

In fact these subjects have been covered for several years through the liberal studies major, but now students can concentrate on their one favorite subject.

"Liberal studies is a great major and program, but it was not known by many," said Dr. Theresa Ast, assistant professor of history. "These programs put us on the right track.ï"

The history degree includes required courses in world, U.S. and European history, along with two liberal studies interdisciplinary courses. A student also chooses six upper-level history courses. This allows students to immerse themselves in one area of study, or they can sample from a variety of times and subjects.

According to Ast, interest has already increased in the major since it was approved in May 2002. "We have already had 10 students change to history majors."

The English program also gives students the freedom to study what they love and teaches them to "think, read and write clearly," according to the 2002-03 Academic Catalog. Dr. Donna Coffey, assistant professor of English, said, adding an English major "was the logical thing to do."

"Reinhardt's niche is as a liberal arts college, and you can't have liberal arts without English," she said.  She said the program is a very traditional English major, offering courses in everything from Shakespeare to the Rise of the Woman Writer. English majors will also take two interdisciplinary liberal studies courses.

Coffey also said with the new minors approved, students could combine an English major with a minor in professional writing. "They can study what they love and gain marketable skills at the same time," Coffey said, which fulfills the Reinhardt mission of educating the whole person.

With the addition of the Floyd A. and Fay W. Falany Performing Arts Center to Reinhardt's campus in 2002, the Eulene Holmes Murray Department of Music moved into a wonderful new home, and now that a four-year degree is offered in music, the year has come full circle for the faculty.

"I was thrilled to have it approved," Judith R. MacMillan, professor of music and music program coordinator, said. The degree is a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a concentration in performance and pedagogy. For those not familiar with the term, pedagogy refers to the instruction and tools needed to teach music.

"This degree is for those who want to perform as a career, but also want the back-up that private teaching can provide," MacMillan said. "You have to know the material you're teaching, plus have the talent to perform."

With the degree, students can offer private instruction in their homes or other venues. MacMillan also sees the degree as "opening a whole new door to recruiting students." Previously, the faculty could only offer the two-year associate program in music, and then watch, as students would leave Reinhardt to continue their education. Now, prospective students are offered a four-year program along with a top-notch performance hall and building.

"This, by far, will help make the decision for students," MacMillan said.

The addition of a religion major seems a natural for a college like Reinhardt. Religion students will have three tracks of study to choose from: religious studies, Christian vocation-music and Christian vocation-religious education.

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