Students in Georgetown College may soon have the opportunity to cross-minor in the McDonough School of Business, according to College Dean Chester Gillis.
Gillis is in the process of establishing a committee that will discuss the implementation of the business cross-minor. The structure and requirements of the minor remain undefined.
Gillis said that he hopes the creation of a business minor open to students in the College will make the borders between schools “more porous.” Gillis also plans to look into coordinating cross-minors with the School of Foreign Service and Nursing and Health Services.
“Business students take many courses in the College already, so it would be nice if College students could take more than the four business courses currently offered,” Gillis said.
Currently, only students in the College’s Faculty of Languages and Linguistics program can minor within the MSB.
Gillis also seeks to improve academic advising. Beginning this fall, first- and second-year students will have the same adviser for their first two years at Georgetown.
“The main goal is to separate advising from mentoring,” Gillis said. “Advising is in part mechanical – what you need to graduate to get your major or minor – [but] the most important part of the process is mentoring, so that students can fully develop while they are here.”
Gillis said that by allowing students to keep the same adviser in their first two years, he hopes to expand the relationships between advisers and students to include both advising and mentoring.
Along with new advising policies, the university is also in the process of implementing the Doyle Building Tolerance Initiative, a campus-wide program designed to enrich students’ understanding of diversity and tolerance through curriculum changes, expanded workshops and research projects. This program was made possible by a $1.5 million donation from William Doyle (C ’72), a member of the university’s board of directors.
“Students will encounter questions of tolerance in their ordinary curriculum to confront intolerance and change that culture,” Gillis said.
One of Gillis’s other goals for the College is faculty recruitment. Gillis said that he believes the College’s faculty is its greatest strength and sets it apart from the other top liberal arts colleges among the country.
“Two of the most important things we do are admittance of students and hiring of faculty,” Gillis said. “Those two things determine the character of Georgetown – who we are. Our faculty members exhibit not only a confidence in their fields but a commitment to the mission of the University.”
Gillis said that the greatest obstacle to achieving his goals concerning curriculum, advising and recruitment is that they may need to be refined throughout the process of getting them approved by faculty and students, which can take time.
“Faculty and students have a voice. People need to hear about [the changes], think, and react,” Gillis said. “I’d rather do it right than do it fast.”
Gillis has been a member of the Georgetown faculty since 1988 and previously served as chair of the theology department and director of the doctor of liberal studies program.