PHRE major proposal goes to Faculty Senate

The Undergraduate Council approved the proposed Bachelor of Science degree in philosophy and religion and sent it to Faculty Senate for further consideration.

Faculty Senate President Scott Alberts said the Philosophy and Religion Department will talk about their proposal and answer questions at the next senate meeting. After that, either Faculty Senate will automatically vote on it or members will go back to their departments to discuss the proposal.

Alberts said the proposal is well-written and thought out, and he does not see any reason the proposal will not be approved by the Senate. He said it is unusual that the Philosophy and Religion Department did not already have both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts programs because the other humanities areas already have both degree options.

Alberts said students want and will benefit from the program.

“We are in the midst of a big curricular change, so I think it’s good that people are thinking about how to support students better,” Alberts said.

The last degree program addition at Truman was the statistics major, but it was proposed as both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in spring 2016.

Chad Mohler, the philosophy and religion professor who presented the initial proposal to the Undergraduate Council, said he is cautiously optimistic moving forward, but he and the department are excited the proposal is moving along.

“We in Philosophy and Religion are very excited to have a chance to offer this to students,” Mohler said. “I think it will provide them with a nice option for them to pursue philosophy and religion here at Truman.”

Mohler said the most important changes to the proposal made for the Undergraduate Council involved more narrowly tailoring the courses that can be used to satisfy the Bachelor of Science requirement and making sure no courses doubly counted for the Liberal Studies Program or Dialogues core curriculum. He said the department will be open to any concerns or changes the Faculty Senate has, and he hopes the process will go swiftly in the Senate.

Sophomore Grant Burton, a philosophy and religion major, said he first heard about the proposal from Mohler, his adviser, when deciding which classes to take.

“I kind of tend to lean more towards the sciences,” Burton said. “I am more interested in those kinds of classes, but decided I needed to forgo those because Philosophy and Religion only offers a B.A.”

Burton said he thinks it is a great idea that will benefit many students. He also said he thinks adding the Bachelor of Science will attract more students to the major and make more students realize it is a practical degree that can be applied to many fields.