The Baker University Faculty Senate recently approved the Educational Programs Committee’s decision to remove Salon 401 from all students’ catalog requirements starting next fall. The course will remain available for students to enroll in but will no longer be mandatory for graduation.
“It was a feeling of the faculty that if students have already gotten jobs or into graduate programs then [the course] might be considered superfluous,” Professor of Psychology Tony Brown, who oversees the Quest general education program, said. “Students might not necessarily need to do it, and they can spend their time taking other classes.”
According to previous academic catalogs, SN401 was intended to help students “concentrate on future employment, graduate or professional school, individual ethical standards, and a grasp of the ‘real world.'”
This decision to drop the SN401 requirement supplements recent changes to other requirements of the Quest program, such as the de-linking of courses and changes in course understandings.
“We’re still going to encourage students to do it,” Brown added. “We may even look at the timing of it. If people are taking this the second semester of their senior year, it’s kind of late. So we may be proposing that people take this course during their junior year in preparation for their senior year.”
Brown notes that EPC will continue to look at the program’s makeup, noting that Baker faculty members understand the general feelings of students and particular course structures.
“We aren’t trying to create experiences that are totally useless for [students],” Brown said. “Everything we do has a purpose, and sometimes we just aren’t good at communicating that purpose.”
Recognizing that students are at different levels of experience and preparation for life after graduation, Director of Career Services Susan Wade believes that the course requirement could be revamped to better connect to students’ particular majors. She hopes that the course will still be enticing for students to participate in though it will no longer be required.
“It needs to be somewhere in the curriculum for students, so I’m hoping that they’ll bring [the requirement] back in some form or fashion,” she said. “It is a valuable course. It is really helpful for students who are in the beginning stages of applying for internships or jobs.”
Junior Caitlin Apollo agrees with Wade’s outlook, as she noted that students will still find value in the courses content.
“I think the fact that it is no longer required will make people more excited to take it because people often tend to dislike classes simply because they’re required,” she said. “I think I’ll still take it because I definitely think it will be helpful for life after Baker.”