Fair to showcase 37 majors in arts, science departments

Alissa Ricci

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Student Government Association will host the first annual Majors Day Fair tomorrow in the Villanova Room of Connelly Center from 2-4 p.m.

The event will showcase the37 academic majors within the College to students by allowing them to visit each major’s table. Student representatives and professors from each department will be on hand to provide information and insight into the major.

Bridget Halligan and Allison Webb, student body president and vice president, came up with the idea for the Majors Day Fair in conjunction with other SGA members last spring.

Inspired in part by the success of yearly career fairs on campus, SGA wanted to provide undeclared arts and sciences students with a similar type of event in which to become familiar with the many paths of study possible within their College. 

“Freshmen should know about all majors before making a decision,” said Halligan, who declared her major in political science during the summer before her junior year.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers more majors than the Colleges of Engineering and Nursing and the Villanova School of Business combined. With the addition of four new majors this year, there are currently 37 majors available to liberal arts and sciences students.

The astounding possibilities for academic majors, concentrations and minors within the College can overwhelm undeclared students, according to Will Hebard, SGA treasurer.

Hebard switched his major three times before choosing psychology and knows freshmen and sophomores will benefit from attending the Majors Day Fair.

“Everyone is an arts and sciences major at some point,” Hebard said. “Students across the University take classes offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to fulfill the core curriculum requirements, starting with the Augustine and Culture Seminar.”

Unlike students in engineering, nursing and business, liberal arts and sciences students lack a central location for classes, yet have a substantial number of options in terms of coursework, according to Hebard.

In order to bring together students and professors across the College, planning for the Majors Day Fair took place over the summer and continued into the fall semester.

“We talked to John Doody, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,” Halligan said. “He was really thrilled with our idea and hopes it will create excitement and passion within the College.”

In addition, SGA worked with the Office of Advising and Professional Development and the Career Center to plan the logistics and financial aspects of the event. Professors and students also played a major role in preparation for the fair.

In August, SGA reached out to department chairs for support, asking them to get professors and students involved in representing their discipline. Last Friday, student representatives from all majors attended a workshop to create table displays, which will be entered into a competition for the best table display. 

As of last Wednesday, approximately 80 upperclassmen were signed up as student representatives. In order for students to gain multiple perspectives on a major, SGA continued to recruit upperclassmen to join their major’s table throughout last week.

“We want two or three student representatives for every major, because each student has had a different experience within the major,” Hebard said. 

Elective courses, areas of specialization, academic extracurricular activities, relationships with professors and research opportunities all shape an individual’s experience of an academic major. 

Overall, SGA is pleased with the level of professor and student collaboration in this year’s Majors Day Fair, according to Halligan. 

“The history department in particular has done an exemplary job,” Halligan said. “They have been great at communicating with us and are incredibly enthusiastic about the Majors Day Fair.” She hopes that this becomes a model for all liberal arts and sciences departments. 

Marc Gallicchio, chair of the history department, describes the event as empowering for undeclared students.

“I hope that students will come away from Majors Day better prepared to make decisions about their educational development,” Gallicchio wrote in an e-mail. “I also hope that the event will reaffirm that they are active participants in determining what direction their education will take at Villanova.”

For next year’s Majors Day, SGA plans to put together a board of students responsible for the planning and organization of the event. This will connect liberal arts and sciences students across disciplines and allow future improvements to the event, particularly in the area of professional development.

“Everyone is so afraid to declare because they are scared of what their job options will be after graduation,” Halligan said. “We hope the Majors Day Fair will help students see what potential there is within the College.”

The Career Center, Mathematics Learning and Resource Center, Writing Center and Learning Support Services will also be present at the Majors Day Fair to introduce students to the many campus resources that assist with academic development. 

Upon entrance to the Majors Day Fair tomorrow, students will receive a folder with a map of the Fair, a list of majors and an Arts and Sciences pen.

Students will also be given one ticket to enter a raffle for a complete arts and sciences prize package that includes a sweatshirt, mug, bumper sticker and other items. Eight students will win.