Six New Minors Added for 2019-20

June 19, 2019

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — In addition to the more than 80 majors, minors, and programs already available to students, Illinois Wesleyan University is adding six new minors and concentrations for the 2019-20 academic year.

Starting in the fall of 2019, students can declare themselves as any one of the following new minors:

Actuarial Science –– Expanding on the math major and the newly added actuarial science concentration, the actuarial science minor gives students the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the field through an interdisciplinary program. The minor is meant to prepare students for a number of exams in multiple areas that they will have to pass in order to become an actuary by providing a set of classes that align with the Validation by Educational Experience (VEE), a requirement for any actuary position. Students with this minor will be able to apply their learning to assess risk and uncertainty in insurance, finance, and other industries and professions. “This minor will allow our program to be recognized as an advanced undergraduate program in actuarial science,” said Mathematics Department Professor and Chair Zahia Drici.

Film Studies –– Headed by Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Thomas Quinn, the new film studies minor will challenge students to develop a collection of analytical and interpretive skills as they investigate films’ meanings, aesthetics, and methodologies within a variety of historical, cultural and political contexts. Additionally, students will develop the skills to create their own motion pictures through courses in digital videography, editing and post-production, lighting and sound, screenwriting, storyboarding, photography, and independent projects. “It has become central to global discourse. The ongoing work of filmmakers is creating an extraordinary record of our diverse cultures,” said Quinn. The minor includes three newly added courses available in 2019-20.

French & Francophone Studies –– In addition to a French minor, students will also have the opportunity to pursue a French & Francophone Studies minor. The minor will allow students to further their thinking in regards to French literature, civilization, arts and culture. Through the new minor, students can continue to pursue their interest in French but are not limited to fostering their language proficiency, as they will be required to take courses that build their knowledge of French culture. “This new ‘studies’ minor helps them to build their intercultural competence and expand their world view by further exploration of the rich French and Francophone intellectual heritage,” said Professor of French and Italian and Director of International Studies Scott Sheridan.

Italian Studies –– Students wanting to pursue a minor in Italian Studies will be given a rare opportunity, as Illinois Wesleyan is now one of a select few private liberal arts institutions –– particularly in the Midwest –– that offers a minor in Italian. “Student interest at IWU in Italian is incredible,” said Sheridan. “We are proud to be able to give students this liberal arts option as they pursue majors in many different fields, from music and business to the natural sciences and social sciences.” The new minor will require a language proficiency through fourth semester and will offer courses in Italian film, Italian cultural history, Italian literature, and a travel course to Italy that focuses on the Renaissance, giving students a way to further explore Italian culture outside of the language.

Religious Diversity –– In response to an ever-growing number of beliefs around the world, the new minor will offer students the opportunity to grow their religious literacy through a set of courses specifically curated to best arm students with the knowledge needed to understand diversity and pluralism within religious studies. The minor requirements are designed for students to take two courses about pluralism and interactions among religions first, and then –– to emphasize diversity –– students choose three different classes about three different religious traditions. “I think this new minor, with only five required courses, would particularly suit students who are interested in developing a greater understanding about religions,” said McFee Professor of Religion and Director of Women's Studies Carole Myscofski. “As for me, my training is in the comparative study of religions, and my courses tend to emphasize historical and feminist studies of particular traditions and comparative categories like myths, rituals, and communities.”

Statistics –– While math majors will now have the option to choose statistics as a concentration within the major, non-majors will now be able to choose the subject as a minor. The minor in statistics is intended for non-math majors who seek to learn important statistical theories, methods and their applications. “Of the 10 jobs that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects to grow the fastest in the 2016-26 decade, only ‘statistician’ and ‘software application developer’ are not in the healthcare industry. In fact, according to the Statistical Association, the number of undergraduates in the U.S. majoring in statistics is not enough to meet the demand from employers. Thus, the creation of this minor has the possibility of generating more interest and bringing more viability to our program,” said Mathematics Department Professor and Chair Zahia Drici. The minor cumulates a set of six classes meant to teach these theories and ends with a course that teaches simple and multiple linear regressions, hypothesis testing and confidence intervals in the linear regression models, autoregressive, and ARIMA models, data analysis and forecasting with time series models.

In addition to the aforementioned minors, the major and minor previously known as American Studies has been revised, and will now be called American Culture Studies.

The new concentrations in American Culture Studies include: African-American Studies, Latinx Studies, and Native-American Studies.

The program’s updates include two lower-level foundation courses that investigate power, inequality, and agency through analysis of intersecting structures of race, class, ethnicity, gender and/or religion; two courses that place the U.S. in a transnational and comparative framework; and a four-course concentration in a specific ethnic/racial group.

By Katie Fata ’22