College announces changes in academic programming

May 2, 2012
Contact: Karen Eldridge, Director of Communications

In its goal to continue offering a transformational educational experience for 21st-century students, Maryville College has announced the addition of eight new majors and two new minors to its academic program.

“The new majors have been created in consideration of faculty expertise as well as developments in various academic disciplines and in higher education overall,” wrote Dr. Barbara Wells, vice president and dean of Maryville College, in a memo to the campus community last month. “[The new majors] also respond to the expressed interests of MC students and prospective students.”

Business and organization management, one of the College’s most popular majors, is being replaced with four majors that offer a more focused area of study: management, marketing, finance/accounting and human resource management. Next year, students also will be able to earn a minor in business.

Responding to a growing interest in visual art and visual communication, the College is adding a major and a minor in design.

The behavioral sciences division is adding a major in neuroscience to its offerings. A new major in exercise science will be coordinated by the College’s physical education, health and recreation faculty but will require several courses in the natural sciences, as well.

Biopharmaceutical sciences, a new major in the natural sciences division, is a dual-degree program with the University of Tennessee Health Sciences College of Pharmacy.

“This agreement came about because faculty and administrators at UT were impressed by the quality of MC graduates who continued their studies there and wanted to create a pipeline to their program. We are thrilled to offer this opportunity to our science students,” Wells explained. “The dual degree program with UT’s College of Pharmacy consists of three academic years at Maryville, followed by four academic years at the University of Tennessee, after which students will have earned a doctorate of pharmacy.”

Wells said the College is “delighted” to offer all of the new programs to the MC student community, adding that several students have declared new majors since the announcement.

“For example, we already have 16 enrolled for next year as exercise science majors,” she said. “We believe the new majors complement our current major offerings and support Maryville College’s mission to prepare students for lives of citizenship and leadership.”

Two majors, two minors eliminated

With the addition of new majors, the College also announced the elimination of programs. Majors in chemical physics and art history are being eliminated, as well as minors in French and physics. Wells said student interest in those programs was low and had been low for a few years.

With program eliminations and other restructuring in the academic division, four positions – three faculty and one staff – are being eliminated.

“We really want to make sure that resources are being allocated to programs that are meeting the needs of students and the world of work,” she said. “Eliminating programs and positions is never easy, but we take seriously our responsibility to be good stewards of the tuition dollars, donations and grant monies that are entrusted to us.”

The three faculty members whose positions are being eliminated are tenured, which means they will have one “terminal year” at the College, which will help facilitate professional transition for the faculty and program completion for students.

“We are committed to making sure that students already enrolled in these majors and minors can complete them,” Wells added.

Initiatives for transfer students in place

The announcement of new programs comes on the heels of other changes in the College’s academic program announced recently.

Two of the programs directly target transfer students, whom MC administrators say they would like to enroll more of.

“For decades, Maryville College has been an excellent place for graduates of two-year institutions to complete their bachelor’s degrees and prepare for meaningful careers,” Wells said last month, in announcing that MC had joined the Tennessee Transfer Pathways Program. The program, developed initially in support of the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010, helps students with associate’s degrees from Tennessee community colleges transition seamlessly into the junior year at a participating four-year college or university.

Earlier this month, the College’s Admissions Office announced the opening of a new summer program for graduates of community colleges in the Tennessee Board of Regents System.

The “summer invitational program” invites students with associate’s degrees to enroll in one summer course at Maryville College, while paying the same per-credit-hour fee of their TBR institution.

New programs fit with strategic planning

Wells, who co-chairs the College’s Strategic Planning Committee, said the recent additions and changes to the academic program are in line with the direction of a new strategic plan, which is nearing finalization. Titled “Renewing our Strength,” the strategic plan will provide a vision for the College at its bicentennial in 2019 and beyond.

A final version of the plan is expected to be approved by the College’s Board of Directors this fall.

“One of the major goals of the strategic plan is to offer a vital academic program that is relevant in its time and place,” she explained. “We still believe that a liberal arts education is the best preparation for existing and future careers, and we realize that the successful delivery of that education requires embracing change.

“We are energized by the opportunities to deliver a relevant transformational experience for the 21st century student,” she added.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,198.