Peru State College adds new major

Staff Writer
Syracuse Journal-Democrat

Peru State College added Interdisciplinary Studies to the list majors offered to undergraduate students this fall. Students in the Interdisciplinary Studies major can propose programs that combine existing disciplines at Peru State College.

Dr. Tim Borchers, vice president for academic affairs at Peru State College, said “The Interdisciplinary Studies major supports the College’s mission of providing an accessible and personalized transformational educational experience.”

This program is designed to meet the needs of students with distinct educational goals unique from other majors Peru State College offers. The program may also interest students with undeclared majors or students who wish to pursue a major not offered by Peru State College without transferring to another school.

Borchers said, “The Interdisciplinary Studies major allows students to propose their own programs of study in order to meet their career, professional or personal goals. Interested students would meet with an advisor to help plan the program.”

Although students have the opportunity to plan a custom major, proposals must meet several requirements.

Borchers said, “Students with well-defined educational goals that are not met by any of the majors listed in the catalog may submit a proposal to create an Interdisciplinary Major. The major should be distinct from existing majors and use a set of courses to create an intentional, integrated and outcome-based program of study.”

Additionally, students must have a 3.0 GPA at the time of application. The program must include 48-57 credits of coursework. At least 30 credits must come from a primary discipline, at least 12 credits must come from one additional discipline, and 30 credits must be upper level (courses numbered 300 or above). The program must also include a capstone experience such as a class, project, thesis, or internship.

The program’s path to become a new major required several approvals and took more than one year to be implemented this fall.

The approval process began last year with the Nebraska State College System Academics and Curriculum Committee, which recommended approval of the new major on March 12, 2019. It then went to the Nebraska State College System Faculty Senate to be heard twice. The Senate recommended approval both times⁠— the second hearing was on April 18, 2019.

Next, the proposal went to Peru State College President Dan Hanson, who approved it on May 20, 2019. It moved to the Nebraska State College System Board of Trustees which approved the new program at the June 2019 meeting.

The last approval came from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditor in the United States. The organization accredits all degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in 19 states, including Nebraska. This approval assures the program’s quality and credibility.

The Commission approved the Interdisciplinary Studies major last month, the final step in the approval process needed for Peru State College to offer the program this fall.