St. Mary’s College Board of Trustees Approves Academic Program Changes for Fall 2021

Submitted by Michael Bruckler on February 08, 2021 - 6:30 pm
February 08, 2021
By Michael Bruckler

St. Mary’s College of Maryland, The National Public Honors College, has been engaged in efforts the last several years to ensure its viability and relevancy as the premier public liberal arts honors college.

“The critical and analytical thinking skills and the ability to effectively express oneself — the hallmarks of our teaching — take on greater meaning in an era in which the world has expanded and become more integrated, diverse and competitive,” said Tuajuanda C. Jordan, president of St. Mary’s College of Maryland.  “With that in mind, the Board of Trustees asked for a program prioritization review of current offerings with an eye towards ensuring that the College offered relevant programs that will attract and prepare students for the opportunities and challenges presented in the 21st century. This student-centric approach secures the College’s future.”

The College has already completed several initiatives. Among them, the College has:

  • Developed and launched the unique LEAD initiative, which stands for Learning Through Experiential and Applied Discovery.  It is a blend of inquiry-based discovery and professional career development skills that every graduate will have.
  • Rebranded under The National Public Honors College because St. Mary’s College holds a unique place in America among public liberal arts honors colleges.
  • Created The Honors College Promise as part of the LEAD initiative, guaranteeing each student the chance to pursue an internship, undergraduate research experience or international study opportunity.
  • With Board of Trustees approval, frozen tuition, fees, room and board for this academic year and authorized student rates for tuition and fees for academic year 2021-2022 to remain equal to current rates.
  • Established a new unit on Inclusive Diversity, Equity, Access and Accountability –IDE(A) 2 – which aims to ensure our College is welcoming, transformative and empowering for all.
  • Created a task force with trustees, faculty and staff that resulted in the development of four new, market-tested degree programs: Neuroscience, Marine Science (both to be available in fall 2021 pending approval by the Maryland Higher Education Commission), Applied Data Science and Business Administration (in development with an anticipated start date of fall 2022), as well as the creation of a Track & Field program and a Pep Band.
  • Conducted an intensive review, with faculty input, of all existing academic programs a process many colleges and universities perform every so many years.

The program prioritization review, just completed, evolved over the past 18 months with task force work involving input from faculty, Trustees, Provost Michael Wick and President Jordan. Among the criteria, academic programs were measured for effectiveness, efficiency and equity.

“The Board of Trustees asked that the emphasis throughout this review be on ensuring the St. Mary’s College of Maryland curriculum is relevant to the needs of global citizens, attracts and retains students, and prepares them for long-term success as engaged and productive citizens of the world,” said Arthur “Lex” Birney Jr., chair of the College’s Board of Trustees.

During its February 6, 2021 Board meeting, the Trustees carefully considered the recommendations designed to reflect how best to prepare students for satisfying careers with a rigorous liberal arts education that captures the relevant issues of today and the projected needs of tomorrow’s students.

It unanimously adopted the following program changes:

  • A new major in Performing Arts will be created comprising Music, Theater Studies and Dance and be more inclusive of non-Western forms of expression. The new major will complement the new auditorium building to be complete in 2022.
  • Majors and minors in Art History, International Languages & Cultures (ILC)-German, Latin American Studies, Physics-Fundamental; Religious Studies; and Theater, Film and Media Studies (TFMS)-Film & Media will no longer be available to new students starting fall 2021.
  • The minors-only programs in Democracy Studies, Mathematics-Applied, Physics-Astrophysics, and TFMS-Dance will no longer be available to new students starting fall 2021.
  • Students can minor, but not major, in ILC- Chinese, ILC- French, Music and TFMS-Theater Studies.

In addition:

  • The current Core 101/301 course will be reimagined as writing intensive, humanities-focused courses to ensure that the humanities continue to be prominently represented.

These actions will impact 11 faculty positions, inclusive of retirements and contract expirations, and the College is closely working with faculty members affected. 

Current St. Mary’s College of Maryland students in any of the majors or minors noted will not be affected and will be able to graduate in their chosen programs.

The following link provides the list of program changes as well as the majors and minors students can choose from who enroll in the College this fall.

“I am confident that the outcomes from the program review, combined with gains in enrollment, student engagement, the LEAD initiative, among other areas, will ensure that our students will be in an even stronger position to compete in the ever-changing and competitive world in which we live,” said President Jordan. “St. Mary’s College will be the college of choice for tomorrow’s students.”


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