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New Programs art students

Above, from left, Sophie Rice ’21, Gillian Fournier ’20, Elizabeth Denault ’18, and Kay LaViola ’19 display the zoetropes they created for a class taught by Melanie Mowinski, associate professor of visual art. 

New Programs Provide Multiple Career Opportunities


Recently, MCLA added two new Bachelor of Science degrees – in Health Sciences and in Community Health Education.

The Health Sciences major – available as a general major or with four different concentrations; pre-physician assistant, pre-physical therapy, pre-occupational therapy, or medical technology – prepares students to pursue advanced study in a variety of health fields. And, the new Community Health Education major addresses a growing demand for health care educators, both locally and nationwide.

In addition, two new concentrations – pre-medical professions and pre-veterinary – were added.

New programs musicNow, MCLA’s newest programs include the computer science major’s concentration in electrical engineering, a new entrepreneurship minor in the business program, and a myriad of additional choices in the Fine & Performing Arts (FPA) Department. As a result, MCLA students this academic year have more options than ever before when it comes to programs of study, as three more new concentrations and four additional minors have been approved.

This fall, FPA introduced new concentrations in design and studio art, as well as minors in dance, design, and music production. And, starting in January 2018, students may opt for a new electrical engineering concentration in our computer science program.

According to Dr. Mike Dalton, chair of MCLA’s Department of Computer Science, there are a multitude of career opportunities available for those who study electrical engineering. From smart phones to laptops, electrical engineers design the devices, towers and also the networks that allow them to work, he said.

New programs elec engineer“But, it goes so much beyond that,” continued Dalton, who earned his doctorate degree in electrical engineering. “Electrical engineers figure out how to make microwave ovens, satellites, video game consoles, DVD players, fans, keyboards, iPods, and every modern convenience you have today.  The job opportunities are limitless.”

With regard to MCLA’s new entrepreneurship minor, associate professor of business Dr. Thomas Whalen said every discipline in the liberal arts may be coupled with this new program, to make that degree more effective.

“For example, someone in education might develop a tutoring center. A chemist, biologist or a physicist might start up a testing lab develop a new product. One area where you see a lot of innovation is in computer science. They are constantly coming up with new apps and new devices,” Whalen said.

Concentrations in design and studio art were added to help students, parents and future employers better understand an art student’s trajectory at MCLA, said Melanie Mowinski, associate professor of visual art. 

“We imagine that students who are choosing the studio art concentration are more likely to be interested in drawing and painting, and students in the design concentration to be more interested in typography, book arts, letterpress, digital design and traditional graphic design kinds of things,” Mowinski said.

“The design concentration prepares students for traditional graphic design careers, web design, animation, concept, as well as character development for films, graphic novels or video games. It’s also great for illustrators and public relations professionals, and for self-promotion,” Mowinski added.

Also in FPA, students may access minors in dance and music production. Already, a number of students who focus on theatre and arts management have added the dance minor. “I am definitely excited about this new dance minor and am interested to see how it will bleed into FPA theatre and make itself known as its own thing,” said Bryana Bradley ’17.

“We were approached by many students interested in the program,” said Laura Standley, associate professor of theatre. “So, we put together a committee and, with a group of Williams College faculty, talked about the possibilities.”

She continued, “We have a large group of students on campus that are interested in performance in general. In addition to producing a growing number of musicals, many others expressed interest in music theatre.” As a result, Tom Truss joined the faculty to coordinate the new minor.

Several classes also were revised for the music production minor. In addition, several new courses recently were added. They include “Home Studio Recording,” “Advanced Recording/Live Sound,” and “Music Production for Film.”