New majors and minors are being offered at Maryville College starting in the Fall of 2017. In total one new major, two new minors and a youth ministry course will be offered next semester. The new major will be in outdoor studies and tourism due to students’ rising interest in the outdoor industry.
The major will replace the current outdoor recreation major offered at the college. Dr. Traci Haydu, chair of the Education Division, cited the college’s close proximity to various historical landmarks and state parks, including the Smoky Mountains. The major hopes to prepare students in the fields of tourism and park management and other related subjects with a high regard for the natural environment itself.
The gender and women’s studies (GWS) minor is new to the college and was spearheaded by Dr. Frances Henderson. Henderson proposed the course offering two years ago, and last fall the faculty and board approved it for addition to the curriculum.
“Gender identity, sexuality, gender roles, feminisms and histories of women (among other aspects of GWS) are all an important part of the fabric of our lives and manifest in some important ways,” said Henderson, “Many of the concepts and ideas that we discuss in our disciplinary majors are further or better illuminated through the lens and theoretical perspectives that GWS has to offer.”
To date, 5 students have declared GWS as their minor, and Henderson expects that number to grow in time and eventually hopes to have a GWS major as well in the future.
“Reception among current students has been great, and I have also received emails from prospective students requesting more information about the minor,” said Henderson.
The minor in environmental science will focus on all aspects of environmentalism, from appreciation of nature to policy making and green economics and complements the college’s natural science program and environmental studies programs. Dr. Dave Unger also cited the college’s location as a boon to the minor, with the large college woods providing ample space for the program and will allow students enough time in the field to learn hands-on.
Finally, the Youth Ministry Course is a trans-denominational course that prepares students to be church leaders with a focus on youth ministry. The course will focus on questions that the youth of today face in their daily lives and what the role of the church should be. It will also define what makes a good youth minister and is a part of the college’s Maryville Adventures in Studying Theology (MAST) initiative, a program that gives credits for students seeking their Ministry and Church Leadership Certification.
As Dr. Henderson mentioned, these new offerings are sure to bring in new students and faculty, and promise to add to the college’s already studious and friendly atmosphere. They also promise to diversify our curriculum even further and provide new opportunities for students both new and old.