This week as students begin to meet with their academic advisors to plan for fall classes and review academic goals, they can now consider adding a new minor. The College recently added art therapy, critical inequality studies, finance, photography, and video gaming studies to its academic catalog, all of which are designed to help students explore interests, build skills, and expand career pathways.
“Minors are an excellent complement to a student’s major by adding both focus and breadth to academic and career interests. In this way they can enhance a student’s resume upon graduation,” says Dr. David Szczerbacki, executive vice president and provost. “In addition, minors provide another way for students to explore new ideas and opportunities or simply to pursue a personal interest beyond the major. Importantly, to take advantage of what our many minors offer, students should plan as early as possible so that required course work can be mapped across a given students degree plan.”
Students with creative interests and a passion for helping others may now minor in art therapy. The new program offers two distinct pathways to careers as an art therapist. With the minor, students can work immediately in a community arts organization. Alternatively, the program also prepares students for graduate study, which, coupled with certification, expands job opportunities to include careers in hospitals, schools, community clinics, or private practice.
"Art therapy continues to grow as a field, and we've seen a lot of interest in it from our students in recent years. We have many young alumni that have pursued work as art therapists by studying both psychology and studio arts here at the College," says Iris Kumar, chair, Department of Visual and Performing Arts.
Students can select the new art therapy minor with either a psychology or studio arts emphasis. With the psychology emphasis, the minor includes six courses which include classes such as Child Development, Counseling Theories or Abnormal Psychology. Students will also complete an internship as part of the minor, including leading art therapy exercises for clients with the Charles River Center as part of the College's partnership with its Futures Program. Students can also minor in art therapy with a studio arts emphasis, which features six courses on Two-Dimensional Design, Drawing, Art in the Community, and Art and Identity.
Critical Inequality Studies
Curry's new minor in critical inequality studies is one of the only of its kind in New England. It follows an emerging trend among higher education leaders dedicated to expanding the understanding of inequality patterns and how these issues impact individuals, institutions, and society.
"The new minor will provide students with a broad-based background on the intersection of systems of oppression and inequality, from understanding the historical and social roots to learning tools and strategies for addressing inequalities and creating positive social change," says Dr. Jennifer Balboni, professor and interim chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology. "The minor provides an important line of inquiry for students. Moreover, this foundation will serve students well while they are here at Curry and beyond, as an understanding of, and sensitivity, to diversity issues is increasingly recognized as an asset in the workplace."
The data analytics program allows students to enhance their Curry College major by adding data analysis and its application to their particular discipline of study. Data Analytics is an emerging, credentialed skill set that employers today value and is in high demand, benefitting students majoring in Biology, Business, Public Health, Sociology and more.
Data generation has rapidly increased in recent years, and multiple industries and fields seek to collect data, find patterns, and make predictions using these data. Students minoring in Data Analytics will learn how to design databases to collect relevant data and identify patterns in the data. Students will receive hands-on experience training Machine Learning (ML) models to make predictions by finding patterns in historical data, using a variety of specialized ML software.
Students will learn about structures and skills for data management, use programming to execute data analysis functions, understand the role, function, and limitations of machine learning and business intelligence, and participate in gathering requirements, performing exploratory analyses, and interpreting, applying, and visualizing the results to solve real-world problems. Throughout the program, students will integrate the themes of ethical practices, principles of design, and productive team functioning.
For students interested in joining the business world, the new minor in finance allows any major to gain the knowledge required for a career path that could include roles such as corporate finance manager, chief financial officer, controller, financial analyst, or financial planner.
The new five-course program graduated from a concentration to a minor as a result of popular demand from business and accounting students seeking deeper knowledge and skill development in financial modeling, capital budgeting and forecasting, and investments. In the capstone course, Advanced Corporate Finance, students gain valuable experience by working through a culminating case study.
"The new minor in finance will focus on quantitative and analytical courses to provide our students with not only an expanded knowledge base in finance but also the critical application and technical skills," says Dr. Anthony Fabrizio, professor and chair, Department of Business.
Preparing future citizens for an increasingly interconnected world is part of the Curry College mission. The international studies minor builds on that mission and the College’s General Education curriculum and supplements any major with the knowledge and skills needed to work in a globalized economy. Students gain an understanding of contemporary issues, events, problems and trends from a global perspective.
The International Studies minor can be completed entirely within students' Gen Ed requirements and the program is also designed to award credit for students that study abroad, demonstrate new language proficiency, or complete an internship or independent research project.
Students interested in exploring careers behind the camera – including commercial, scientific, medical, aerial, news, sports, and fine art photography – will benefit from the College's new photography program. The five-course minor offers an array of courses in the essentials of industry tools, techniques, and practices while preparing students to become successful photographers.
"With a minor in photography, our students will have the opportunity to explore the field of commercial photography," says Alison Poor-Donahue, associate professor of graphic design. "Studying photography enhances your creative, social and cultural understanding while developing your specialized technical knowledge around equipment, techniques and styles."
The new minor complements students studying graphic design, studio arts, communication or forensic science. Moreover, it allows all students, regardless of major, to master skills such as studio and location lighting, digital workflow, photo editing and retouching. With access to a state-of-the-art digital photography studio, students will gain exposure to industry-standard hardware and software products and gain the technical skills to develop an individualized digital photography portfolio.
Communication student James Jabbour '21 believes the new minor will be popular. "It's a big deal. I know several students that will be interested in pursuing the minor," he says. "If I weren't graduating this year, I'd enroll in photography as a minor because it would strengthen my resume when searching for photography jobs which is one of my career interests."
Video Gaming Studies
The new video gaming studies minor is one of the only programs of its kind in the area to incorporate a critical analysis of video games with the gaming industry, while also grounding students in the basics of game design. The new five-course minor is available to all majors who may have a career interest in and around gaming. Potential career paths could include a technical, creative or business role such as game designer, artist, writer, critic, business manager, producer, marketer, or sales representative.
"Our students have a great interest and passion for video games. They know and love this artform, and our new minor will allow them to develop a critical understanding of it," says Dr. Melissa Kagen, assistant professor of communication. "Gaming is a broad and growing industry with many rewarding careers. Students will learn the basics of game design as well as the current state of the gaming industry."
As part of the newly developed curriculum, faculty across several disciplines – including business, marketing, creative writing, digital art, music, computer science, and sport and recreation management, will collaborate to create new interdisciplinary projects and assignments. Students in a music composition course might partner with students in the game design class, for example, to help create soundtracks for the newly developed games as a final project. Another potential co-curricular program may include the launch of a Curry College Twitch Stream, a popular live streaming platform for gamers.