Marywood to continue offering philosophy, Spanish and religious studies majors


The Undergraduate Curriculum Committee voted unanimously on Feb. 24 to continue offering the philosophy, religious studies and Spanish majors.

According to Dr. Christa Irwin, chairperson of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, the decision was a result of “positive conversation.”

“There was a fair amount of conversation among the committee members and the departments,” Irwin said.

The Strategic Resource Allocation (SRA) report released last semester stated that the three baccalaureate programs would be eliminated and offered only as minors because of low enrollment numbers.

Marywood President Sr. Mary Persico, IHM, Ed. D., who originally suggested the elimination of the three majors in the final SRA report, said she does not agree with the committee’s decision to continue offering the majors, but will respect it.

“I still disagree, but I think that’s one of the great things about higher education,” Persico said. “As colleagues and educated people who come from all different backgrounds, we can talk to one another and we can…respect [other people’s] viewpoints, but still be able to respect the diversity of varying viewpoints.”

Persico said she thought it would be beneficial to offer stronger Spanish, philosophy and religious studies minor programs to students to “couple” these minor programs with majors.

One example she said would be the pairing of a Spanish minor with a nursing major to give students a “strong background” in the language that would “come in handy all the time.”

At the committee meeting, representatives from each affected department made presentations to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee arguing the reasons these majors should remain at Marywood.

Dr. John DePoe, faculty representative of philosophy and co-chair of the Undergraduate Core Curriculum Committee, said all three affected departments presented responses to the reasons administration gave for eliminating the majors.

“The response that we gave is that we agree in one sense with what the administration is seeking to do… they see our programs as providing a supportive role for professional degrees, and we agree,” DePoe said. “We just don’t see how eliminating our majors is going to help with that in any kind of way.”

DePoe also explained the “driving decision” behind the appeal.

“It wasn’t to protect our own interests or our friends, but I think we all genuinely and objectively are correct in believing that this decision was in the best interest for Marywood,” DePoe said.

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