Major of the week

Year in review

Jacob Notermann, Staff Writer

You’re going the University of North Dakota? Are you going into aviation? Stereotypically speaking, the answer is probably “yes.”

I don’t blame anyone for thinking that. We have one of the best aviation schools in the country. Heck, even our billboards (that’s right. Our marketing plan involves billboards) feature only the UND flame logo and one of our planes.

The fact of the matter is our school offers an assortment of successful programs that do a lot of great things with little to no spotlight in return. The purpose of the Major of the Week series was to find these humble programs and learn a little bit about what they do and why students take the paths they take. Here’s an excerpt from the very first major of the week:

“Students of every personality and background can find something they can enjoy. Simply going through the UND website can show all of the options a student has. There, one can find the run-of-the-mill majors like marketing, communications and whatnot. Then, there are those majors where one can only wonder what it is, why it’s an option, or what the purpose of that degree is.”

This year, the series has covered 13 majors, some of them with bigger names like nursing and petroleum engineering. Then there are the lesser-known majors like information systems, Norwegian and communication sciences and disorders. All are filled with motivated students who make their mark on the community before graduation.

Sometimes, programs don’t get as much recognition from their own school as they do from other regions of the country. UND’s fisheries and wildlife program consistently makes noise at their annual national conferences. The philosophy and religion program is associated with one of the most notable UND alumnus: The Zen master, Phil Jackson.

Meanwhile, there are majors attempting to feed students into booming fields where the job markets are begging for students to take $70,000 entry-level positions. Students with an information systems major are practicing with the latest software in a newly-renovated, high-tech classroom hidden on the third floor of Gamble Hall. This room has televisions for wallpaper and free software for students to download onto their own laptops.

Some programs at UND are unique in their own fields. The dietetics program pushes students into practicing their trades while pursuing their undergraduate degree. At most other universities, dietetics students can’t even get an internship until after their undergrad is complete. This gives UND students the advantage in the personnel-hungry job market.

As most of the student body is aware, the university is going through a “remodeling” phase where many programs are changing how they do business. Communication moved to a whole new building and gained department status earlier this year. They had their yearly awards ceremony on Friday where they presented scholarships from 19 different categories.

Speaking of remodeling, many majors in the O’Kelly building have been taking advantage of their new classrooms and technology. The history major was able to experiment with a whole new teaching style, and they’ve been receiving positive feedback for it. This year, the program is conducting more student-run class settings where the instructors are more referees than instructors.

Part of the series’ purpose was to wipe away any stereotypes associated with certain majors. Philosophy and religion students don’t spend all day talking about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, dietetics students aren’t the “food police” and the information systems students aren’t a bunch of geeks who spend all day coding. Okay, maybe that last one is actually true, but the point still stands.

While things may look gloomy at UND and the only things focused on are the things lost, it’s easy to forget all of the amazing things this school does and will continue to do down the road. It may not appear this way to everyone, but UND persists on being “exceptional.” Be sure to thank the lesser-known majors for that.

Jacob Notermann is a staff writer for the Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]