Thirteen new Associate in Arts (AA) majors presented for consideration on Wednesday before the Board of Trustees were approved unanimously and added to the college’s curriculum.Edward Martinez, vice president of the Academic Senate, and Jacqueline Jacobs, vice president of instruction, brought the proposal before the board.

Traditionally, the AA degree only offered one “de facto” major-that of liberal arts-to students who wished to receive their degree from the college. With the new system already implemented for students starting in the Fall 2009 semester, the general liberal arts degree is all but discontinued.

“The old system allowed more flexibility,” Martinez said during his presentation, “but the new system allows them to focus on their concentration for future transfers into four-year universities.”

Students coming into the college now are required to choose a major and fulfill the prerequisites within that concentration, in addition to the IGETC or CSU GE requirements students base their schedules on, to prepare for future transfers.

Trustee Consuelo Rey Castro applauded Martinez’s work on mapping out the different majors and working closely with the faculty to offer new educational opportunities for students.

“This is a remarkable step that shows the curriculum of PCC is matching up with the demands of the four-year UC and CSU systems,” she said. “We’re not behind the eight-ball on this; we’re ahead of it.”

The 13 new majors include concentrations varying from dance, to English writing, to environmental studies and seven different foreign languages. These majors will be added to the 11 already approved by the board last year.

Before the board approved the new majors, Trustee John Martin raised concerns about the possible restrictions the new system would place upon students wishing solely to transfer without receiving an AA degree.

Student Trustee Brian Abadia agreed.

“It’s bittersweet,” Abadia said. “I’m glad the college can give someone a certificate specific to their major, but at the same time, most students just come to PCC because they want to transfer to another university.”

During the meeting, the board also voted to make Dec. 2 the date it would choose one search firm from a narrowed field of four to aid in the college’s search for a new president.

The board chose Dec. 9 as the date its members would confirm recommendations for the screening committee, as to allow for input from the two new trustees, Anthony Fellow and Berlinda Brown, the latter whom was in attendance during the first half of the meeting.

The meeting, held jointly with the Associated Students at noon in Creveling Lounge, began with a PowerPoint presentation detailing accomplishments and events over the course of the semester, given by AS President Allen Tsay. Events featured in the slideshow included the Halloween Trick-or-Treat for children from the CDC campus; Homecoming week festivities; and a recent AS picnic.

The board commended AS’s commitment to the campus and also praised its efforts in garnering student involvement with PCC’s student government.

“I sense an amazing level of involvement from students,” said Trustee Geoffrey Baum, “and look forward to hearing much more feedback in the future.

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