The University of Maryland’s Senate established a bachelor of science degree in global health and debated final exam policies during its first meeting of the 2023-2024 school year on Wednesday.
The new major is a collaboration between this university’s public health school and several other departments. Its curriculum will include between 77 and 83 credits, according to a University Senate document. Courses will draw from public health, biological sciences, world languages and more. The major would be available for students to declare in fall 2024, according to the senate document.
“Graduates of the program will be able to apply structurally competent, collaborative and multidisciplinary perspectives to the understanding, assessment and intervention of strategies that are necessary to address current and future global health issues,” Wendy Stickle, the chair of the senate’s programs, curricula and courses committee and a principal lecturer in this university’s criminology department said during the meeting.
The major will require students to travel abroad to satisfy its provisions. Domestic “global experiences” will also be available to students who cannot engage in education abroad, said Nicole Cousin-Gossett, the public health school’s undergraduate education assistant dean.
A new advisor for the major will also be hired over the next several months.
The senate also deliberated this university’s final exam policy during Wednesday’s meeting.
A proposal from the senate’s academic procedures and standards committee suggested that assignments administered during the last week of classes should not be worth more than 10 percent of a student’s final grade.
The 10 percent limit would be a necessary addition to the policy and “protect students,” Amy Karlsson, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and the committee’s chair, said during the meeting.
“It is the committee’s hope that the revisions do not represent a major change in how classes operate,” Karlsson said.
The committee’s proposal also says assignments that an instructor gives instead of a final exam should be due when the final exam would have taken place during the exam period, rather than during the last week of classes.
Radu Balan, a senator representing the computer, mathematical and natural sciences college and applied mathematics professor at this university, proposed an amendment to the committee’s proposal that would allow individual departments to set their own policies.
The amendment passed, with faculty members saying it will allow department chairs to mandate final exams in certain courses for uniformity.
After a lengthy discussion about wording, the senate ultimately voted to return the proposal to the academic procedures and standards committee and allow them to iron it out further.
The senate also announced plans to strengthen senator-constituency communication. Soon, all senators will directly send updates to their constituents through email and Google Groups.