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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University January 22, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 18
SPSBE Intedisciplinary Studies Students Affected By School Split

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

The recent creation of the Carey Business School and the School of Education has resulted in some administrative and academic changes that have impacted students previously enrolled in the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education.

One such change is the planned phase-out of the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies program, a decision that has created some consternation and confusion among students currently enrolled in the liberal arts undergraduate program that has been placed temporarily in the Carey Business School.

In response to concerns, the Carey Business School's Department of Undergraduate Studies sent a letter on Jan. 12 to affected students to inform them how the phase-out would be administered and what their options were. The letter is also published on its Web site.

In addition, the school has scheduled for Friday, Jan. 26, a town hall meeting where students can direct questions and concerns to members of the Undergraduate Department staff and to Pam Cranston, the interim dean of the Carey Business School. The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in 3 Shaffer Hall on the Homewood campus.

The Carey Business School and the School of Education both began operations on Jan. 1, building new and distinctive programs on the foundation created by the now defunct School of Professional Studies in Business and Education.

The 120-credit Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies program, previously housed in SPSBE, offered studies in three concentrations: general studies, social sciences and communications.

The current plan is to offer a full schedule of interdisciplinary studies courses through the 2007-2008 academic year and to discontinue them on May 31, 2008.

Cranston said that the school is committed to working with students in the Interdisciplinary Studies program to help them achieve their educational goals. All students registered in the program have been asked to schedule a one-on-one meeting with an adviser to chart where the student is and what he or she needs to do between now and when the program is phased out.

"There's no simple solution that fits every student. The solution has to be customized, and that is what we are committed to doing," Cranston said. "It's unfortunate that students are being put in this position, but we are being as flexible as we can possibly be in order to provide the opportunity for students to complete their programs."

Cranston said that students also have the option of transferring credits to the Carey Business School's other undergraduate programs: the Bachelor of Science in Business and Management and the Bachelor of Science in Information Systems. Both of these programs will continue to exist but strictly as upper-level programs for those on a degree track.

All of the Carey Business School's lower-level undergraduate courses (100 and 200 level) will be discontinued in May 2008. Those students interested in applying for the Bachelor of Science in Business and Management and the Bachelor of Science in Information Systems must have 60 college credits as of May 2008, along with meeting any other admission requirements.

Still other students may be close enough to completion of the Interdisciplinary Studies degree, Cranston said, to be able to take some courses at other universities and transfer the credits to JHU.

"We will be very flexible in helping students," she said. "When new majors are created, it is always hoped that they will be successful, students will be satisfied, and they will last forever. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Nonetheless, we have an obligation to work with matriculated students to enable them — as best we can — to complete their major program, and that's what we are doing."

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