New Course Lets "Undecided" Students Sample 30 Majors in Arts and Sciences

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: March 5, 2004

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo students who are undecided about a major can "sample" the 30 choices available in UB's College of Arts and Sciences via a new course, "Trends in Arts and Sciences," offered through the college.

The goal of the course, CAS 101/102, is to provide students with an opportunity to see the array of opportunities available in the college, says CAS Dean Uday P. Sukhatme.

"It is known that, on the average, students change their majors about three times prior to graduation," Sukhatme explains. "This is done for a variety of reasons, a main one being a lack of detailed information about all the discipline options available to them.

"I came up with the idea of CAS 101/102 as a one-credit-hour course

designed to give students a flavor of the 30 choices available to them in the College of Arts and Sciences," he says.

The course, which meets weekly, is taught, or rather "moderated," by Tyrone Georgiou, professor in the Department of Art in CAS, with the assistance of Stefanos Papazaharias, senior staff associate for undergraduate education in CAS.

"The course meets to hear presentations from faculty in the disciplines (represented in CAS), Georgiou says. "These lectures usually center around the faculty members' research and creative activities, as well as offer an overview of the particular department or program. We try to have every department and program represented over the course of a year through 101 and 102," he says.

CAS 101, offered for the first time in the Fall 2003 semester, attracted about 80 students; another 41 are enrolled in CAS 102, which is being offered this semester.

Sukhatme says the course is a valuable asset for the undecided student.

"At the very least, students find out something about the array of opportunities available to them (in CAS)," Sukhatme says. "However, if it helps narrow the choice of majors and perhaps reduce the time to graduation, then CAS 101/102 would have to be called a real success," he adds.

Georgiou notes that student evaluations of the course's first semester were good, although mixed, and there likely will be some fine-tuning of the course for next semester. The course may be condensed into one semester, since many more students enrolled for the fall semester than the spring, and "we would like to present to students the full spectrum of opportunities in the college," he points out.