Departments discuss course changes
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 09:02
A university must grow with its students. As the student population changes, a university adapts and improves to its influx of new and diverse people looking to learn. Indiana University of Pennsylvania is no exception.
Over a series of articles, The Penn will be highlighting some of the changes being made by different departments in order to better prepare their students or make their material available to a wider audience.
The department of political science offers three major tracks: general political science, political science/pre-law and international studies. According to political science faculty John Sitton, changes have been made in all three tracks over the last year and a half. The final changes were implemented this last semester.
Political science and political science/pre-law saw expanded core courses during that time period.
“It used to just be introduction to American politics and introduction to world politics,” Sitton said, “but we’ve added a new course, contemporary political ideas, and we also added as an additional requirement a research methods course.
“As a department, we decided that there were certain things that our majors absolutely needed to know. We would always recommend research methods,
but we never required it. We decided to require it.”
The international studies track was an adviser-driven interdisciplinary track, according to Sitton. Now, the major has become more specified. International studies majors can now focus on concentrations in political economy, international political systems or international security studies.
New courses in the pipeline include women in politics, European politics and a “you have rights” class focusing on claimed constitutional rights. The department of developmental studies has been offering supplemental instruction at IUP since 1997, but it saw a major upturn in those seeking instruction over the last few years. Last year was their biggest year yet. Supplemental instruction, according to Sally Lipsky and the Center for Learning Enhancement, is “an international model of academic support and retention targeting introductory level high-risk courses.” These courses typically have a drop/fail/withdraw rate of 30 percent or higher.
In an instruction session, students are assisted by trained peer leaders in a structured environment about how to learn the courses that are the most difficult for them. Assistance is offered for such classes as math 101, biology 105, chemistry 101 and psychology 101.