The College of Health and Human Sciences announced it will offer four new minors starting in the fall of 2020 to attract students, address problems cropping up in Kansas and promote interdepartmental collaboration.
The additional programs will be in gerontology, pre-kindergarten education, children in group settings and interdisciplinary conflict resolution.
In the past, gerontology — the study of aging and how to improve it — was offered as a secondary major. Pam Evans, academic adviser to the gerontology program, said the minor was added for students who wanted credential in gerontology, but did not have enough hours to achieve a secondary major. The secondary major requires 24 credit hours, but students enrolled in the minor program only need 15 credit hours.
“Having that minor might attract more students because it’s less hours,” Evans said. “And a lot of students these days are looking at ‘What can I do to make my resume look better?’”
The pre-kindergarten education minor will specifically be geared toward the family and consumer science and elementary education students. The minor was implemented for many reasons, one of which was to collaborate with the College of Education.
Kiersten Wukitsch, student development assistant at the College of Health and Human Sciences, explained that this minor was also chosen to add the pre-kindergarten certification to a student’s teaching license.
“It is to meet a specific need that has popped up in Kansas recently,” Wukitsch said.
The children in group settings minor was created to appeal to students who are pursuing fields of support systems for children and families, but not wanting to become a teacher.
“This is the first thing to come out of early childhood that is not restricted to teaching licenses,” Wukitsch said. “Our goal is to take care of our students and their needs, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”
The interdisciplinary conflict resolution minor was created through the collaboration of six other programs, which include human development and family sciences, social work, sociology, business administration and communication studies. Students have the option to emphasize psychology, legal, organizational or family conflict in this minor.
David Thompson, teaching associate professor in family studies and human services, will be the director for the interdisciplinary conflict resolution minor.
“It’s a good way to shape the future with department and programs collaborating rather than competing,” Thompson said, “We want to be pioneers in collaborative programming and curriculum development.”
Thompson said the minor was added to help students improve basic knowledge of problem-solving skills.
“We live in a world that is, frankly, pretty rude — people don’t tend to get along very well,” Thompson said.
With the addition of this new minor, Thompson hopes students may learn to find harmony in the workplace, in their family life and their friendships.
“I get excited about the present, but I get much more excited about the future,” he said.