Last spring, Maryville College announced that it would be adding eight new majors and two new minors to the existing academic programs as a part of strategic planning. Additionally, MC eliminated two majors and two minors, which had been attracting low interest over the previous years, to help renovate the academic catalogue.
This year, students are beginning to feel the effects of this change.
“Today, my opinion of this major is no different than I thought it would be,” said Hope Johnson, a sophomore exercise science major. “I absolutely love it and cannot imagine doing anything else. The classes I am in right now are incredibly interesting and totally worth it,” Johnson said. “I decided to become an exercise science major because I have always been involved with sports and working out and it seemed to just fit. Also, I decided I wanted to be a physical therapist and this is one of the best major you can get if trying to get into grad school, in my opinion.”
Iman Harris, also a sophomore exercise science major, mirrored Johnson’s reaction.
“I always thought I wanted to be a doctor, but I wanted a career with more flexibility, and I like the therapy aspect versus the hardcore medical aspect,” Harris said. “I always had a secret fondness for physical therapy. I’m just happy Maryville has this new major. In my opinion, it is like the best of both worlds; you get the relaxed learning of the physical education part, but then you get the hardcore science mix. It’s a good balance.”
According to the registrar’s office at MC, exercise science is the most popular new major as of last summer with 16 declared students. The design major has also attracted seven students. In total, 29 students are pursuing a new major. Additionally, one student has declared as a business minor, the only new minor that has had a person officially declare.
While this number represents a growing interest the majors, Kathi Wilson, the director of the MC registrar’s office, said that student interest will be more evident next semester as freshmen begin declaring their majors and minors. Until then, interest in the new majors and minors can only be measured by the positive reaction of the students.
The MC admissions department is also feeling the effects of the new majors and minors. This year, admissions finally met its goal for the first time since 2008. While it is unknown how much of an influence the new majors and minors had on this event, MC president Tom Bogart claims that the new majors and minors are very effective in gaining interest from incoming students.
Bogart explained this by referring to the new marketing major. Maryville essentially had a marketing major previous to the changes made, but officially the college did not appear on web searches for schools with a marketing major. Now, there is an official marketing major, and the college appears on listings of schools including this major. This, in turn, attracts more prospective students.