New option for minors aimed at student-athletes

by Jillian Gearin / Beacon Correspondent • January 29, 2015

Students will be able to design their own minor starting this semester, according to the Department of Communication Studies. 

The individually designed minor program, or IDM, will allow students to choose courses they believe will benefit them in their field of work, according to communication studies professor Spencer Kimball, one of the program’s spearheads. It is similar to Emerson’s existing individually designed interdisciplinary program, which allows students to create their own major.

The new minor program, which Kimball said was developed through a collaboration between communication studies and athletics, was announced at a mandatory meeting for student-athletes on Jan. 22. The audience of 200 students greeted the possibility of a sports communication minor through IDM with cheers, according to Kimball. 

“Usually you see students cheer if an exam has been canceled, but that night the students cheered for a minor,” said Kimball. “This shows the excitement and interest the students have in this program.”

The sports communication minor is expected to be a prominent part of the IDM program due to significant interest from student-athletes, said Gregory Payne, the interim communication studies chair.

Last year, 35 students enrolled in a sports communication class, which is larger than Emerson’s average class size, according to Payne.

Depending on the level of interest, Kimball said the communication studies department may create a sports communication major based on students’ IDMs, even as soon as Fall 2016.

“I think it is long overdue for a sports-related minor to be available at Emerson,” said Anahita Padmanabhan, a freshman journalism major. “I know many students, including non-athletes, who want to incorporate sports into their professions.”

Athletic director Patricia Nicol said the new minor is an opportunity for all majors. 

“This will be beneficial for not only the student-athletes, but the entire student body,“ said Nicol. “It will only enhance a student’s resume and contribute to what they want to do in their professions.” 

A Student Government Association survey conducted at the beginning of the school year found that many students wanted to have more control over the courses they take, Kimball said.

Students interested in an IDM have to write a proposal on the specific educational and professional objectives of the students program; how certain courses will fulfill the program; and qualifications, background, or work experience that is relevant to the program, according to the application.

The deadline for IDM proposal forms is March 1 for the spring semester and Nov. 1 for the fall semester. Seniors who are graduating this semester can still submit applications for the minor, Kimball said, provided four of the courses they have taken or are currently taking relate to their proposed minor.