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Magazine On-line [summer 2012]
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International affairs major is created

Transylvania will adopt international affairs as an official major beginning in the 2012-13 academic year.

International affairs has been a minor for several years, and students in the past have self-designed the major under the guidance of political science professor Jeff Freyman. Political science professor Michael Cairo will be program director.

“Elements of what Dr. Freyman designed as a self-designed major are part of what is becoming the new major,” Cairo said. “It’s mainly using courses that are on the books—there’s really only the new senior capstone.”

The major focuses on international economics, history, and political science, with a foreign language requirement beyond the general education requirement. Core requirement includes courses such as Principles of Microeconomics, International Trade and Finance, International Politics, and Western Civilization.

There will also be several electives revolving around three specific themes—developmental issues, region, and political history. Students can be guided toward electives that will support their desired career or further study fields.

“There is a wide range of opportunities for students in the program,” Cairo said. “Some students might be interested in working with a non-governmental organization, others might be interested in governmental work. We might have students interested in human rights or maybe even business.”

Elizabeth Hardt, a rising sophomore from Louisville, plans to declare an international affairs major. She was interested in the program coming into Transylvania and had planned to self-design the major.

“I think international affairs is really relevant right now—everything has become more globalized,” she said. “I’d love to have a job with something like the state department or the United Nations that lets me travel and work in another country. I think it will be a useful degree in the future.”

Cairo described the program as “multidisciplinary,” taking elements from several areas to build a syllabus.

“There aren’t necessarily a lot of classes that are team taught or have focus on interdisciplinary actions except the senior capstone,” he said. “You’re taking multiple courses to try and create synthesis and connections across these disciplines.”

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