Editorial: Adding minors: A major advantage

With graduation right around the corner, the one question that is on the forefront of the minds of many Rider seniors is: Will I be able to find a job?
Many of these students have been working toward making sure the answer to this question is a “yes” by completing one, or in many cases, two minors.
According to Dr. Sharon Sherman, dean of the School of Education, having additional minors, specifically for education majors, makes a student much more marketable.
This has clearly resonated with many education majors. Special education and early childhood education minors clocked in as the top two most popular minors from the fall 2012 semester.
For students with the right interests, passions and hopes of a dream career, Rider’s support of additional minors is very beneficial, especially in a world where, according to Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Education and Sciences Jonathan Millen, jobs are interconnected and careers require a knowledge base that crosses several disciplines.
In order to accommodate this, Millen and a faculty taskforce have proposed a new major, which would allow a student to hold three minors instead of a full major. Upon completion of the three minors and other requirements, a student would receive a Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies (BAMS).
So, what is one of the main goals of the newly proposed degree? It allows students to receive a more marketable liberal arts education.
Rider’s student-centered approach in this regard is commendable and it’s clear that the university wants its students to be successful post-graduation.
However, sometimes we get the feeling that students may be taking on additional minors with the sole purpose of increasing their likelihood of getting hired and not because they have a true interest in that area of study.
In some cases, this might not be a bad thing. Picking up a minor that you might not necessarily be interested in could be worth it if it lands you a job within your major.
Take a student who is majoring in journalism and decides to pick up minors in political science and law and justice. He or she does this not because they have any interest in politics or law, but because they know those minors would make them more marketable to employers. This student might not fully enjoy taking classes in these minors as an undergraduate, but if putting those experiences on a résumé impresses an employer and gets him or her hired, I’d say those minors did his or her job. From there, the student can build his or her résumé and work their way up to doing the type of journalism they prefer.
However, this approach would not be feasible in the Education Department. A student should not take on a minor like early childhood education simply because it would make them more marketable. A student should have an interest and desire to work with children in preschool to third grade in order to teach them effectively.
Overall, students should not feel as though they have to take on extra minors just to get a job, and certain minors aren’t for everyone. However, if used in the right way, minors can be very beneficial not only for landing a job but also targeting specific interests and manipulating students’ varied interests in a way that best prepares them for a certain career path.
In the proposal for BAMS, the task force provides the example of a student wishing to minor in public relations, English writing and advertising. This student would have the ability to develop writing and media skills, both of which would be beneficial for a career in business and promotion.
“Students selecting these majors would be prepared for careers in business, media/publishing, government and nonprofits, among others,” the proposal reads.
Whatever the reason for taking on additional minors, students should think carefully about why they want the minors and how the minors will benefit them and their future careers.

The weekly editorial expresses the
majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s

editorial was written by the News Editor, Katie Zeck.

Printed in the 4/19/13 edition.

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