by PRIYA PATEL
At their first meeting of the semester on Feb. 2, the University Faculty Council (UFC) passed a motion that clarifies the writing intensive and speaking intensive requirements for double majors.
The new motion will allow writing intensive and speaking intensive courses taken for a second major to fulfill the general education requirements as well. This will ensure that no single or double major student will be required to take more than four writing intensive and two speaking intensive courses.
“The UFC referred the motion to the General Education committee because the issue involved general education and that is our bailiwick,” said Robert Rycroft, a professor in the economics department of UMW and chair of the General Education committee. “We discussed it at our January meeting and voted to support the motion. It was then returned to the UFC, and they voted to support the motion.”
The new general education requirements, which took effect in the fall of 2020, stipulate that students need three writing intensive courses and one speaking intensive course. Unlike the old general education requirements, these can not overlap with major requirements, which require one writing intensive and one speaking intensive class. Because of this, double majors have been required to take a total of five writing intensive and three speaking intensive classes.
“The reason for the motion was the belief that the existing rules made it difficult for double majors to graduate on time,” Rycroft said. “Taking all those WI/SI courses was stressful and they were not always easy to find.”
Eleanor Haas, a junior double majoring in international relations and cybersecurity, said that this change will be helpful.
“If it’s less classes to take, that will definitely help double majors,” she said. “Fitting in two majors into four years is really difficult and requires a lot of advanced planning. That would have helped me a lot. Right now, I don’t think that I have any space for non-required classes.”
Percy Sampson, a sophomore English and theatre double major, agrees.
“Because of my two majors, it doesn’t affect me all too much,” they said. “I think, for those who it benefits more, it’s a really cool thing.”
The justification for this motion was that the current policy puts an unnecessary burden on double major students, which could potentially decrease the number of students graduating with two majors.
“The new general education requirements created a hurdle for double majors to graduate on time, so the faculty decided to lower the hurdle,” Rycroft said. “The new general education requirements were created with the best of intentions, but they created an unforeseen difficulty that has now been removed. My own view was if students with one major can satisfy their writing requirement with a certain number of courses, then double majors should not have to take more courses for that same purpose.”