Majors Merging: International Affairs and Globalization Studies Combining into a Single Major

By Alicia Method, Staff Writer

This past spring, the faculty of International Affairs (IA) and Globalization Studies (GS) began floating the idea of combining these two similar majors. According to Dina Lowy, Chairperson of IA, GS, and Associate Professor of History, the first questions faculty members asked themselves were, “Could we and should we?”

Historically, the IA Program has been around longer with GS only appearing on the scene in 2007. The two majors were created out of existing resources, meaning that neither department has its own hires. Faculty members with international interests were drawn to the programs and worked for them on their own time. Two separate committees were set up with faculty members either having to choose GS or IA or participate in both committees.

The intensity of time commitment for being on two committees was one of the reasons faculty members began considering a merger. Lowy also noted that faculty and courses for the programs overlapped. Additionally, IA and GS boasted an extremely similar structure. By combining programs a larger cohort of students would be formed, increasing student interaction and learning. 

Lowy stated the merger would be a “streamlining process. We can celebrate what we have in common and keep the best parts to make them more efficient.” 

The first thing on the checklist was passing the idea by the Academic Policy Program Committee (APPC) where students and faculty could approve it. Next, the Faculty Finance Committee had to evaluate the costs and determine if it was a financially astute decision. Thankfully, since the merge would actually be providing a slight cost reduction, it was a fairly simple decision for the committee. Finally, with the Provost’s support, the merger was presented at a faculty meeting and voted on in the next meeting. 

Lowy discussed the details of the merger with palpable excitement. She detailed the fact that inside the combined major, there will still be “two solid tracks offered.” Though some adjustments to core courses were made, the traditional approach was retained with emphasis on history, political science, and government. 

The GS track is also maintaining its self-design qualities, with a few adjustments. In the past, students were allowed to pick any region in the world with a theme to focus on. In the new major, students can pick from a drop-down menu, with one option still being a self-design choice. 

The IA track is becoming even more multidisciplinary by adding courses in anthropology and languages. Additionally, IA used to be a dual-major, it was required to be paired with another program of study. Now, as it joins GS, it has become a standalone major that students can immerse themselves in. 

Lowy emphasized the clarity she expected to accompany the merge. She stated there would be, “a unified message about the importance of international and global issues.” 

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Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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