Changes in British study minor increase participation

When Jill C. Havens became the British and Colonial/Post-colonial Studies minor program director in 2005, three students were enrolled in the program. Because of recent changes, the award-winning minor now boasts 11 students as declared minors.

Havens said some key changes were made to the minor – one course was eliminated in favor of other areas of study, transfer credit limitations were eased and course requirements changed to incorporate other departments around the university.

This year alone, the number of declared minors has doubled, Havens said. Michael Butler, associate dean of AddRan College of Humanities and Social Sciences, said he was not surprised at all by the number increase.

“The program is very faculty and student-driven, and we hope to see it continue to grow in the future,” Butler said.

Katy Garrison, a British studies minor, said she hasn’t felt a change because she was grandfathered into the original program.

Havens said the changes make the minor more flexible and able to better suit the needs of more students.

Havens said students used to be limited to nine hours of transfer credit from TCU’s London Centre last year. Now, up to 12 hours can be transferred in, and all courses from the London Centre apply to the minor. Other study abroad sites, including the British Isles, Australia and India, will allow courses to transfer and apply toward the program in the future.

“The best part about the program is studying abroad,” Garrison said. “I was in London in 2005 when it was bombed, so it was really scary.”

The London theatre program is one such option that is available for students.

“We’re happy to have students from other departments take our theatre classes in London,” said Harry Parker, chair of the TCU theatre department.

The minor focuses on the culture and history of Great Britain and its former and current colonies, according to the program brochure. Another focal point listed in the brochure is globalization and the impact Great Britain continues to have on the rest of the world.

To emphasize the program’s goals, Havens said the department molded the minor into an interdisciplinary area of study courses from a variety of departments such as art history, journalism and political science.

“(The minor) supports the university’s mission statement and puts emphasis on the global community,” Havens said.

The program’s mission is to provide students with an understanding of Britain’s history and culture in order to boost the understanding of globalization in today’s society, according to its Web site.

Havens said she believes the program now has more visibility, publicity and increased leadership than it did before. Future plans for the British studies minor include more publicity, more student involvement and other events and functions that highlight the focus of the minor, she said.