Georgetown College plans to introduce four new minors, including Creative Writing, Persian language, Turkish language and Religion, Ethics and World Affairs, beginning next spring.
Students in the college can currently select from minors in 44 areas of study, in addition to seven School of Foreign Service regional studies certificates.
A group must bring a proposal to the College Dean’s Office to create a minor before it is considered by three or four members of the College Academic Council. The minor must then be approved by the entire executive committee.
The minor must then be approved by the Main Campus Executive Faculty, a body consisting of 57 faculty members and two students.
Each of the new minors will require six courses. The minors in Creative Writing, capped at 20 students, and Religion, Ethics and World Affairs will require an application process and involve a capstone seminar, where students complete a project to conclude the minor.
English majors will not be able to minor in Creative Writing due to the overlap in courses.
Professor of English David Gewanter, who helped develop the new Creative Writing minor, said the new minor builds upon the existing courses offered in the English department.
According to Gewanter, the new minor will offer students an opportunity to delve deeper into their writing skills.
“We’ve had an array of creative writing courses that have been filled up and have been very popular for a number of years,” Gewanter said. “The idea of the minor is to try to put them in a sequence so that you can build up towards writing a longer manuscript about something that intrigues and challenges you.”
Gewanter said a creative writing minor is important to foster a writing community that can impact students in the long run.
“It’s a very hands-on, interactive program. The issue of having a writing community is crucial and the ones you establish in school follow you for time afterwards,” Gewanter said. “I am still in touch with people I took poetry workshops with in the 1980s and we are still sharing manuscripts.”
Persian Language and Culture Program Director Farima Mostowfi said the Persian language minor reflects the significant role the language plays on a global level.
“More than 110 million people worldwide speak Persian,” Mostowfi said.
“Creating a Persian minor will enable students to communicate, interact with and form relations with those coming from an important region of the world when they become the leaders of tomorrow.”
Mostowfi also said the new minor recognizes the rising interest in the university’s Persian program.
“I have been trying to create this minor for 5 years. There were a lot of students that could validate 14 plus credits in Persian and we were not able to recognize this or give them a certificate or anything,” Mostowfi said.
Georgetown student demand for Persian has risen sharply in recent years, according to Mostowfi. Between 2013 and 2014, enrollment for “Beginners Persian” rose 257 percent. This fall, 40 students are enrolled in classes across the Persian program.
In another language with growing interest, Turkish minor students can reach intermediate level in the language accompanied by coursework in Turkish studies approved by the department.
Turkish Language and Culture Program Director Sylvia Önder said she was glad Turkish studies is receiving more recognition with the creation of its new minor in the college.
“At Georgetown, we have a special history of nationally-competitive Arabic programs, and Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish have been housed within the Arabic programs,” Önder wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We are grateful for the hospitality, of course, but are glad to have more official recognition of our programs through the minors.”
Önder said Georgetown’s efforts to recognize smaller-language programs reflect the university’s commitment to a thorough liberal arts education.
“Now that there are minors in Turkish and Persian — both college students and SFS students can gain a mark on their transcript that will be reflective of a specific type of global education that is so sought after in professional life,” Önder wrote.
Michael Kessler, the managing director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, said the new REWA minor will address contemporary global issues. Religion, Ethics and World Affairs was previously a Berkley Center program only available to SFS students as a certificate program. The new minor makes the program accessible to college students as well.
“Students at Georgetown today are training to be the next generation of leaders and will face complex challenges about the role of religion in politics, economic and social development, international relations,” Kessler wrote in an email to The Hoya. “The REWA certificate is a stellar opportunity for students to engage these issues in a sustained way.”
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