Sciences split from Liberal Arts

Students may notice a change in venue for psychology and sociology classes this spring. The Ankeny campus is currently in the process of moving those social sciences classes out of Building 2, and into Building 9. This is part of a split from the Liberal Arts program where the science, engineering, math and social sciences (SEMSS) will separate from the oversight of the Liberal Arts administration, with offices in Building 9.

After some renovations are done to the classrooms in Building 9, Dean Kari Hensen and her administrative staff will be moving into their new space. Hensen has been an Associate Dean to Dean Jim Stick for the past nine years, and she has seen immense growth within the Liberal Arts program during her time at DMACC.

“To use a [football] analogy, we’re going from a zone to a man-to-man defense.” Hensen explains. “Dean Stick and I have been working within this large, broad division and now we’ll be dividing it up into different specialized units, hopefully being able to spend more time with the faculty within those units.”

Dean Stick spoke to this saying “It’s logical that we will be able to focus more [on each course] when we aren’t spread quite as thin.”

This is not only applicable to students majoring in Liberal Arts, but also all students completing an associate degree as some classes taught in Building 2 by Liberal Arts instructors are required by most degrees. For example, virtually every student needs to take Composition I regardless of their major; this move by the social science division of Stick’s programs could create room for more Composition 1 classes.

The goal is a seamless transition that is unnoticed by students, according to Stick. Hensen hopes that the move to Building 9 is completed by Dec. 1, creating possible time for renovations to the older Building 2 before the beginning of the spring semester.

Katherine Dowdell, Chair of Psychology and Sociology, says she sees the split as positive for her courses. “Arts and Sciences was really huge, and logistically I think separating them is a good move.” Dowdell said.

Dowdell will be moving to Building 9 for the spring semester along with the rest of the Psychology and Sociology staff. They will coordinate with the rest of SEMSS where the math and sciences are located in Building 4, and Dowdell said “I think the plan is eventually to bring us together [in one building].

Hensen also said that renovating Building 4 or creating an entirely new building for math and sciences are possibilities moving forward.

“We’re looking at expansions [on Building 4]. We could really use another laboratory science building . . .  many students will tell you there’s been a waitlist for general chemistry, in particular. We’re using those labs all the time, so we’ve been trying to be creative and also be flexible for students.”

Dean Stick is also currently working on coordinating a pre-music or pre-drama major or both with Grandview and Drake. “We’ll be able to do some things [in Building 2], after we get things organized [in Building 9].” He expressed how DMACC is always looking to expand the opportunities offered to students who plan on continuing their education at a four-year institution.

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