WSC major spotlight: interdisciplinary studies


Hannah Henriksen, Staff Writer

Interdisciplinary studies is an option offered by Wayne State College that allows students to create a major that best fits their academic needs.

Yasuko Taoka, director of interdisciplinary studies, said not every student is drawn to an established major. Through an approval process, students can build their own major or minor by selecting specific classes based on the skills they need to acquire for their future career.

“It’s a cool program and I’m not sure how many people know about it,” Taoka said.

Taoka said about 12 students at WSC are currently majoring in interdisciplinary studies, along with several more that graduated in May.

Taoka said an increasing number of new markets are developing in the career field that traditional majors do not cover in depth. Interdisciplinary studies allow for student interests to bring innovation to the curriculum in an interesting way.

Melanie Loggins, an academic advisor, said most majors equip students to perform a wide variety of tasks within their chosen field. Interdisciplinary studies tend to have a more specific focus for students who know what path they wish to take for their career field.

Loggins said when majoring in interdisciplinary studies, students should be prepared to explain what exactly the major is that they have assembled and how it is preparing them with the skills that they will need in their career field.

Michaela Cosgrove, a WSC student, said she chose interdisciplinary studies because it best fit her future career goals. “It’s been great,” Cosgrove said. “I love it and have no regrets about it.”

Taoka said the process begins by meeting with a faculty advisor who works with the student to pick classes and set up a plan that will satisfy their learning needs. This may be an advisor that the student has worked with previously or someone with experience in that particular field.

Taoka said once the faculty advisor and student have put together a major, the student must fill out a form explaining the courses they intend to take and why they wish to have an interdisciplinary major. Their proposal will then go through an approval process.

Taoka said the proposal must first be approved by the faculty advisor. It also must be approved by the department chair that relates to the program.

Taoka said during the approval process the faculty is mainly focused on ensuring that the major makes sense and can be accomplished in the remaining time the student has at Wayne State.

Loggins said interdisciplinary studies recognize the talent of the WSC staff and shows just how diverse and fluid the body of knowledge is on campus.

“Odds are if you want to learn something, there is going to be someone on campus who can help you learn it.” Loggins said.