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A Humanities Minor is on the horizon for Saint Anselm College

Emily Maier, Crier staff

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For anyone searching to make the most of their college education, the possibility of a new Minor should come as an exciting announcement.

The newly proposed Humanities Minor was unanimously passed by Saint Anselm College’s Curriculum Committee on October 17. If the rest of the approval process goes as smoothly, Saint Anselm College will be introducing the Humanities Minor in the very near future.

Professor Gary Bouchard, the director of the Grappone Humanities Institute, says he is hopeful that the Minor will be approved this November. Alongside Professor Wierda, who will ultimately be in charge of the Humanities Minor, Professor Bouchard is a co-author of the Humanities proposal. Thus, he has been following the progression of the new Minor closely.

Currently, the Humanities Minor is still awaiting confirmation by the Faculty Senate, which serves as the final step in the approval process. If passed, the confirmation of the Minor will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

As Humanities encompasses Classics, English, Fine Arts, History, Modern Languages, Philosophy, and Theology Departments, the Humanities Minor would include a wide variety of different classes.

Two Humanities courses – Shakespeare in Political Power and the Art of Science – are already being offered for the upcoming spring semester. In the following fall semester, Professor Bouchard anticipates there being “a much more robust rollout” of Humanities classes.

In a pamphlet from the Humanities Institute, the department is described as one that seeks to study “shared scholarly inquiry that enriches our individual and communal understanding of what it means to be human.”

Professor Bouchard adds that the Minor will focus on: “the idea of asking difficult questions about what it means to be an individual in a community and in relationship with the divine.”

When asked about the intended audience for the Minor, Professor Bouchard says, “We’re especially going to pitch this Humanities Minor to people who aren’t in a Humanities discipline.”

While the Minor would certainly complement Majors such as English, Philosophy, and History, students in Majors with more specific career outcomes would be strongly encouraged to utilize the Minor.

Professor Bouchard explains, “I’m thinking of things like Criminal Justice, Nursing, Computer Science, and Business, where, guess what? If you’re majoring in Nursing, you’re probably going to be a nurse. And if you’re a Business Major, you’re probably going to work in business. These things have much more specific career outcomes than many of the other majors. For those students, the incentive is to get the fullest benefit out of their Saint Anselm education and to get the fullest benefit out of the Saint Anselm faculty.”

While these students will have the rest of their careers to focus on their chosen profession, Professor Bouchard says, “The one thing you’re not going to get to do again is be in a room reading great books, talking about them…”

“In some ways,” Professor Bouchard continues, “I think it’s to maximize the benefit, to get the full return on your money of what a Saint Anselm education – what a liberal arts education – has to offer.”

In addition to this incentive, Professor Bouchard says, “When you do get that job of your dreams, it’s not going to be the job you expected.”

There are certain skills that every graduate should know, no matter their occupation. Critical thinking, imagination, empathy, strong writing capabilities, and the ability to communicate verbally are all skills that are valuable if not necessary in almost every profession.

About these traits, Professor Bouchard states, “The Humanities Minor is going to help foster all those things.”

In case these reasons were not enticing enough, Professor Bouchard also says, “You’ll never get to go to college again – so wouldn’t it be nice to spend some of that time engaging in the kind of learning that you really want to learn, separate from the demands of your major?”

In terms of the response to recent Humanities events, Professor Bouchard says he is very gratified by the number of departments, faculty, and students who have been engaged thus far.

He also thanks the Grappone family for their generous donation, which has made the existence of the Humanities Institute possible.

Along with the unfolding progress of the Humanities Minor, the Humanities Institute will be holding a celebration for the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.

Taking place next semester, the event is still evolving, but a committee chaired by Professor Jen Lucas and a scheduled keynote speaker have already been established.

Additionally, the Humanities Institute continues holding new “Come Friday” discussions each week. The next talk will consider the question: “Is there any such thing as love at first sight?” Held on Nov 9, this discussion will be facilitated by Father Mathias Durette.

On Nov 16, Professor Aubrey Scheopner Torres will lead another conversation that asks, “Isn’t tolerance the most important thing?” Both discussions will take place in the LLC classroom at 12:30 p.m.

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A Humanities Minor is on the horizon for Saint Anselm College