General studies axed

The School of General Studies at Florida A&M University will be closing this summer, according to Provost and Vice President of Student Affairs Cynthia Hughes-Harris.

“This is a unit that doesn’t generate credits, and the employees in that unit do not teach,” said Hughes-Harris.

Hughes-Harris said the schools mission is to teach and they wanted to protect that mission.

She went on to say because of this they decided to eliminate the program from the university. But the school of general studies does have some professors that teach.

“We do have the college prep program, which we have over one thousand students, and we have our college orientation course,” said Dorothy F. Henderson, dean of the School of General Studies.

The prep courses prepare students for English and math on the college level. Starting the next school year students will have to declare a major upon entering FAMU. The school of general studies is preparing current students for the change.

“We’re in the process of getting students out of the school of general studies,” Henderson said.

Henderson said students are changing majors everyday.

Some students see the closing of general studies as a good and bad situation.

“I think this will help incoming students get through school in a shorter time because they’ll have to make up their minds about a major,” said Michael Jefferson, a second year chemical engineering student, about the pros and cons. “A lot of programs are on stimulus money and when that money runs out those people lose their jobs,” Jefferson said.

When students come into the university they will be forced to choose a major right away. But there is a down side to the closing of the program.

While so many students are changing majors, FAMU held its change of major fair last Thursday and Friday.

“This is a university wide fair for students to change their major in one place,” said Linda Barge-Miles, assistant vice president for academic affairs.

To change a major at FAMU a student has to have the permission to leave their current major, and then get permission from the major in which they wish to enroll.

“We decided to put it all in one place so the student didn’t have to run all over campus in order to get it done,” Barge-Miles said.

All of the colleges and schools of the university were at the fair.

“It’s great that there are representatives from all over the campus and our extended campus in this one room,” Jefferson said.

Some students feel that this is a good time to have the fair with the closing of general studies.

This is the second time the school has had a university wide change of major fair. Last year about four hundred students came out to make a switch.

“This one is really important because we’re moving a lot of the students from general studies into majors,” Barge Miles said.

In past change of major fairs, held by general studies, students who were undecided could visit with the different departments, and get information on the requirements, Henderson said.

The last official day of the academic year and closing of the school is June 30, 2011.