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Re: major-nonmajor

In smaller schools intro courses are also 'recruiting' courses for majors.
Therefore, the course needs to satisfy the 1st course requirement for the
major and therefore will include intended (our students don't declare until
their second year) majors. Our intro Chemistry course includes chemistry,
biology, and sometimes nursing majors. Now for sure, chemistry, biology,
and physics have general-ed courses for non-science/math majors, but the
next level of intro courses all have mixes of majors. Most science majors
find that their other courses are usually the 'easy' ones. I certainly
did--having a better GPA outside the major than in! I suppose it is more of
a problem for philosophy majors taking a psychology course, but of course
one shouldn't be thinking of education as a 'contest'! ;-)


Richard W. Tarara
Professor of Physics
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, Indiana
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----- Original Message -----
From: "fred bucheit" <fbucheit@HOTMAIL.COM>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2004 9:29 PM
Subject: Re: major-nonmajor

I would like to start a thread that might relate to the thread "Opening
East Central College". Even if it does not relate, I think it is an issue
that needs some attention because of the cynicism (and hardship) it

I have had students, and even my children, who went into college in a
given major and who discovered that when taking courses outside of their
major were placed in classes with students within that major. And even
than that, in some courses outside their major, even though all students
were non-majors they had a class taught by a professor who used
the same syllabus as was used for the majors in that field. ( I suspect
is more prone to happen in smaller colleges where the staff available is
very limited)
I do not believe that that is appropriate or makes any pedagogical
sense. My major was Physics, and I do not believe that I should be
to paint like a Picasso or compose like a Bach in order to be competent in
my field just as History and Elementary majors should not be held to the
same standards as Physics majors when taking classes outside their
it does happen. And when it does, what recourse does the student have?
Essentially, none. I have no solution to this dilemma, and I would like to
hear some ideas here. A person who goes to a doctor or lawyer who they
is acting inappropriately can easily go to another one, but the same is
at all true for a student who may have a couple years and many thousands
dollars already invested. Yes, Deans are often called on to arbitrate
situations, but I wonder how much guidance thay have. Do they cave in to
bottom line or what is appropriate to the student if these are not

Fred Bucheit Retired Physics teacher.

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