Social Sciences hope for give, take

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    By SHEA N. CUTLE

    The dean of the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, which awards the most undergraduate degrees, expected many responses from the Self-Study because his college is so big.

    And the college did get a lot of suggestions for improvement. Sixteen degrees and one department were suggested for elimination from the college, which grants nearly 30 percent of all undergraduate degrees but has “much less than 30 percent of the faculty. We also carry a heavy general education burden,” said Dean Clayne L. Pope.

    Pope said the committee worked hard to understand the needs of the 10 departments and at least eight centers and institutes in the college, which he deemed an impressive effort.

    He also said some of the degrees suggested for elimination were pro forma — the departments had already been working on the cuts and had suggested them to the committee. One such degree was high school teaching in anthropology.

    “No one was selecting that option, and it was just fine to take those kinds of degrees off the books,” he said.

    But there were other degrees, though fewer in number, which were “more substantive.”

    These degrees include the three offered by the Clothing and Textiles Department, itself targeted for elimination. There was also a recommendation to transfer the faculty of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute, which largely studies church history, to various departments. “Whether or not we should retain the institute is still up in the air,” Pope said.

    Those in the Clothing and Textiles Department are very enthusiastic about their major, as evidenced by the popularity of the annual Fashion Show, Pope said. “I think that’s going to be a very difficult decision for the university to make,” he said.

    The chair of the department, Charlene Lind, said she agreed with Pope when he said, “Each of those units (suggested for elimination) can make a strong case as to why they should continue — and they are making those cases.”

    The degrees suggested for elimination are fashion design, apparel studies and fashion merchandising.

    “Fashion merchandising is a very popular major, especially with some students, so I think the university will have to think very carefully before it eliminates this major,” Pope said.

    Edith Songer, a senior from Huntsville, majoring in English and minoring in clothing and textiles, works at Cougar Custom Sewing. She said she doesn’t agree with the Self-Study’s suggestion to eliminate the program, and she said many students and faculty share her opinion.

    “They have been cutting back a lot and there’s not as much of a chance to do what we could here,” she said. “There’s a strong feeling here that we need more faculty and funding.”

    Among those doctoral programs selected for elimination was general psychology. The rationale given was that the existing program was too diffuse and was not supported adequately by the faculty. The committee suggested the department focus on neuropsychology.

    “The recommendation to eliminate the Ph.D. in general psychology is entirely consistent with our recommendations,” said David V. Stimpson, chair of the Psychology Department. “General psychology is really a misnomer; psychology is too broad.”

    Stimpson said the department would still have a doctorate in psychology (not general), and also offer students the option of specializing in areas such as neuropsychology or behavioral neuropsychology.

    Likewise, the doctorate in history was suggested for elimination. The department chair, Kendall W. Brown, said though the program is relatively small, the rationale for eliminating it, he believes, is invalid. The committee stated that the resources would be better used else where. Brown said Ph.D. students teach introductory level history classes, so they are not expending resources, but rather, they are the resources, and are an assets to the department.

    “We are teaching 15 to 20 percent more students than we originally committed to,” Brown said, adding that Ph.D. students helped ease this load caused by the History of Civilization general education requirement.

    Brown said he was pleased with the recommendation to add three full-time faculty members (or the equivalent thereof), which seemed a recognition of this increasing load in the History Department.

    The Self-Study was also beneficial to the college in other areas, Pope said. The college is pleased about the proposal to add $180,000 to the Center for Study of the Family, he said. “This is an excellent step toward improving study on the family across the campus,” Pope said. “We have a good reputation for family studies at BYU and this will make it better.”

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