A House Reorganized: Morehouse Students Sound Off On Academic Changes
Jair Hilburn & Isaiah Johnson, Editor-In-Chief & Managing Editor
As a new school year started at Morehouse College, students were enthusiastic to return to the institution with their brothers to continue their journey to becoming a Morehouse Man. However, students were surprised when it was revealed that academically the school was no longer divided into departments.
Now the institution has seven divisions: Social and Cultural Studies, Humanities, Life Sciences, Business Administration and Economics, Mathematics and Computational Sciences, Creative and Performing Arts, and Experiential Learning and Interdisciplinary Studies. Each is headed by a division chair. (See Academic Affairs reorganization chart.)
“The purpose in realigning majors into shorter verticals, closer alignment, is to allow students to more easily utilize courses from a previous major or first major/minor to meet learning outcomes in [their] new or second major/minor so that exploration will not delay graduation,” Provost Michael Hodge said in a document obtained by The Maroon Tiger.
In addition, departments now are called majors, so department chairs no longer exist. Each major has a professor called the Academic Program Director whose focus is student success. Some of department chairs’ previous duties have been given to the division chairs. While students were taken aback by the academic restructuring, they also were in a state of disbelief when it was discovered that the Fredrick Douglass Resource Center was closed while renovations are completed. As a result, students feel that these changes should have been communicated to the student body.
“Morehouse has had communication problems since I’ve been here,” senior Tissan Young said. “I would say Morehouse needs to find more simple and efficient ways to communicate things to students because it’s making things unnecessarily more difficult for us when we get back from a break when whatever was supposed to be there for us is no longer there, and we’re forced to adjust when we had no idea what was going on. They’re making these changes and not including us in it.”
There are students like Young who believe the administration could be more efficient with how changes and issues are communicated to students, but there have been opportunities for students to bridge the gap. Hodge made a presentation in Chivers-Lane Dining Hall to discuss the transition from departments to divisions and answer any questions students had.
“From what it appears, it might be better, but this doesn’t take away from in the beginning there was a lot of confusion, … so there needs to be a lot of clean up and clarifying,” senior Malcolm Beason said. “Maybe taking a Crown Forum to actually explain. I think that will be most effective.
“Students must be willing to get involved with what’s going on in their school. Voice your opinion and mobilize.”