In the fall of 2017, the University of Dallas began to offer the first of a few new undergraduate major opportunities that were being considered — a B.S. in business to complement the existing B.A.
Time will tell whether approval of other proposed majors and concentrations will come through.
While the majors at UD are central areas of study, concentrations are interdisciplinary and act as ways of holding together two separate areas of study.
The majors that UD expects to offer in the near future are Italian and music, and the new concentrations that have been approved are sacred music and Latin American studies.
The B.S. in business is modeled after the B.S. in areas such as biology, chemistry and biochemistry, and is a new option for the freshman class of 2021.
Sheila Howard, assistant dean of undergraduate business programs, mentioned that certain focuses of the B.S. program came about due to alumni feedback.
“We do a survey every two to three years, and the last time we did that, the alumni mentioned that they wanted more classes based on what is going on in business now,” Howard said. “When we developed the B.S. program, we added more classes that the alumni felt needed to be added to the program.”
The development of the other new majors comes with high interest in the potential subject areas, and this growth is exciting for the students and faculty alike.
“We are very close to having an Italian major — it’s just about there, but it still has one more vote to go through. That is likely to be on board very soon,” Dr. Jonathan Sanford, dean of Constantin College, said.
Sanford and registrar Kathy McGraw both noted the strong connection between UD and Italian culture due to the Rome program, mentioning that there was a great deal of interest in the new Italian major.
“At a time when many universities are shutting down their modern language programs or cutting them back, to find that there is a new interest and a need to expand in this area is very exciting for a liberal arts institution,” Sanford said.
“I am very excited about the growth of the Italian program,” sophomore Giada Morelli said. “By adding an Italian major, there will be more upper level Italian classes available.”
McGraw commented on the predicted growth of interest in these new areas of study.
“It might take a little while for them to grow, but I think that once the word gets out about them, especially for Italian with our program in Rome, it makes sense that there would be students who would be interested in them,” McGraw said.
The music major is still in the works, but based on the high interest of the UD students in that area and on the competency of the music faculty, it looks like a real possibility.
“I really want to see an expansion in the arts at UD,” Sanford said. “And it seems unbalanced that we have not had a music major. We have a lot of students who are musically inclined and it seems like a natural fit here.”
The newly established sacred music concentration is one step toward the future development of the music program, and it gives UD students the ability to combine music with sacred liturgy.
The Latin American concentration is a combination of sorts between the history department and the Spanish department.
“We have a very high percentage of students with Latin American roots and interests in Latin America,” Sanford said. “And we also have a strong faculty interest in the area.”
These new academic opportunities seem to be a sign of growth at UD.
It seems fitting that in a year with these expansions, as well as the largest incoming freshman class, this academic growth will continue at UD for years to come.