All of the minors, Jones said, are designed to complement students at any of the colleges, as they encourage interdisciplinary learning.
While four proposed minors — science and risk communication; ethics, public policy, science and technology; gender, race, culture, science and technology; and media arts, society and technology — could be coming to the College of Liberal Arts, it is anticipated that students across various departments and colleges could enjoy benefits from them, as well.
Social sciences department chair Terry Jones said the entire department is excited about the prospect of these new minors, calling them “fascinating intersections that speak to the future.”
Many in the social sciences department are particularly excited about the gender, race, culture, science and technology minor because of its unique role as a supplement to the existing anthropology program, Jones said. The minor would link students with other dimensions and disciplines that have crossovers with anthropology.
“It’s essentially applied anthropology — people using the methodology of anthropology to evaluate the influences of technology on gender and ethnic groups,” Jones said.
All the minors, Jones said, are designed to complement students at any of the colleges, as they encourage interdisciplinary learning.
“There seems to be a dimension of the future of our country where there are intersections between technology and the arts.” — social sciences department chair Terry Jones
Jones said he doesn’t see any possible drawbacks with these proposed minors.
“There seems to be a dimension of the future of our country where there are intersections between technology and the arts,” Jones said. “I feel like that’s really what this is.”
Biological sciences department chair Christopher Kitts said he sees both potential benefits and drawbacks to the proposed minors. A potential drawback could be a lack of students equally interested in the four minors, as well as less faculty available to teach major courses if they are focused on minors.
“If there aren’t enough students to fill them all out, then it might be just yet another curriculum that sort of hangs out on the catalog and no one pays attention to it,” Kitts said.
These minors would be open to students of all majors, across all departments and colleges. Each provides a different facet of social learning paired with technology, which would improve and promote cross-cultural learning.
Industrial technology department chair Manocher Djassemi said he can see the benefits of these proposed minors from both a business and an engineering perspective. He noted specifically the science and risk management minor, which he says students would be “very interested in” because of its interesting look into the risks in work pertaining to science and technology.
The ethics, science and technology minor, Djassemi said, would especially benefit students with several different specialties because it provides courses that teach students to be socially responsible and promote sustainability.
“Our natural resources and energies are depleting and it is good for our students to understand how they can be more sustainable in their practices at home and in the workplace, as well as how to make a product with less materials and energy,” Djassemi said.
Lastly, the gender, race, culture, science and technology minor, he said, is “incredibly important” because students — especially those in technological fields — need to be prepared to work, collaborate and interact responsibly in an increasingly diverse workplace.
“There are no other minors or courses at Cal Poly that would provide this kind of exposure to this kind of learning,” Djassemi said.