Resolving major points in the minors program

At the start of Academic Year (AY) 2018-2019, students from the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) saw the addition of 12 new units to their flowcharts following the insertion of minor courses in the new curriculum, previously dubbed RevEd. To promote interdisciplinary learning, the minors program currently requires ID 118 and 119 students from CLA to take courses offered outside of their departments.

For students of the college, however, ambiguities over the state of the program—its application process, its inclusion in the students’ diploma, and the real status of elective classes—have become awfully confusing.

Optional or compulsory?

During the Program Assemblies for CLA Students held last November 18 and 19, it was revealed that the required minor courses may become optional, fueling speculation on the fate of the program.

FAST2018 Batch President Audrey Garin admits that the batch government unit itself is “still confused” over the status of the program, though she says that CLA Academic Programming Officer Maybelle Baracca had informed her and other Student Services members that the minor programs have already been made optional for ID 118 students.

But Garin points out that the pronouncement contradicts a statement delivered by Vice Chancellor for Academics (VCA) Dr. Robert Roleda in a town hall meeting held last December 13, where she recalls him saying that the program was, in fact, “not yet optional” but “getting there”.

The LaSallian had covered the said event, reporting that, as per Roleda’s statement, the minors program will remain compulsory for ID 118 and 119 students, while its status for future batches remains a talking point for the Academics Council.

‘More free electives’

For CLA Dean Dr. Jazmin Llana, making the program optional is not a bad idea. “If you ask me, I would have the minor program as an option for students—for the students of ID 120 and later to still have these [as an] option,” she explains.

The CLA head also confirms that the minors program remains as a necessary component in ID 118 and 119 students’ curricula. This means that students from the said batches will have to complete the 12 units allotted for minors subjects, as reflected in their flowcharts.

Llana further explains that per the decision of the CLA Council of Chairs—composed of the administrators and the department chairs of the college—students will no longer be restricted to any “package” or fixed sets of courses in a given area, such as philosophy or political science. Instead, students can “decide to take electives within [any discipline],” allowing them to explore fields outside their degree program.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED), likewise, has also conceptualized the minors program as a “prescribed set of elective courses,” according to its Memorandum Order No. 31. Hence, the classes that students enroll in as part of their minors program are themselves also free electives—courses intended to expose them to other fields of study. Llana confirms this, saying, “On top of the electives [already on the flowchart] you can take, these (courses for minors) are more free electives.” She adds, “If for example, there are several offerings within (sic) and those do not appear in your curriculum [or] your flowchart, you can take [those subjects].”

‘Part of your diploma’

Amid the concern that students might not have their completed minors reflected in their diplomas upon graduating, Llana puts the matter to rest. “[The Academics Council has] already decided that [minors are] going to be acknowledged na. It’s going to be a part of [the student’s] diploma,”
 she affirms.

Roleda made a similar declaration during his town hall meeting, reasoning that CHED only needs to be notified of the decision and that the University will not require the agency’s approval, given DLSU’s autonomous status. “We don’t need any permission from CHED. We just need to inform CHED; we are awaiting the process of preparing the documents that we will submit to CHED so that by the time [ID 118 students] graduate, CHED has been informed,”
he said.

Llana also assures students that this process can be completed in time before the first batch of ID 118 students graduate. She points out that “not much work” needs to be done for the administration to notify CHED. “We have plenty of time. [The ID 118 students are] only [in their] second year, aren’t [they]? So by the time [the ID 118 students] are ready to graduate, we’ll have it ready for [them], so don’t worry about it,”
she guarantees.

Clearing things up

Within CLA, some students have expressed persisting confusion about the details of the minors program. Darlene Ena Gaspar (II, AB-ISJ) expresses her concern over the ambiguity of the program’s fate. “I wish for more clarity [regarding] what will happen with this program in order for other students to take time and deliberate what minors are they going to take,” she says.

Airing the same sentiments, Sai Daquigan (II, AB-ISE) also shares that students are still confused about the accompanying application process. “At first, we were told that we should already apply for minors even if it’s still far off into our flowcharts, so we did, but then it turned out that if we apply [for a certain program], we should take [the minor classes] the following term already,” she says.

While she considers taking up a course she “really [has] a passion for” as “one of the positives” of enrolling in a minors program, Daquigan admits that doing so had thrown her flowchart into disarray. “I had to sacrifice one subject—in my case, GERIZAL—to make room for my Literature minor,”
 she narrates.

To stave off confusion, Llana reveals the college’s plans to host a town hall meeting during the second term of the current AY, but notes that there is no tentative schedule yet for the said assembly.

The only question that remains to be answered is whether the Academics Council would decide to make minor courses optional for the succeeding batches.

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