The Journalism and Visual Arts (SJMVA) and Humanities (SHSS) administration introduced students to the new name of the two soon-to-be merged programs, announced a pilot-schedule for first-year classes, and offered free pizza on 22 February.

Photo by: Ela Angevine

The new, combined name after SJMVA and SHSS are merged in September 2024 will be “School of Art, Humanities, and Social Sciences” which was decided through a poll, according to the Dean of both programs Karen Grunow-Hårsta. The department heads also discussed goals, such as increasing social media presence and student resource accessibility.

“We are repotting a little bit…[the schools] are already administratively merged, so now we are making it formal,” said Grunow-Hårsta, using a metaphor for the two majors’ revamps. “I would like you all to feel connected…so this is a time for you to ask questions, and of course meet the department heads,” she added.

Photo by: Ela Angevine

The only difference will be for those graduating in a year—not this semester. Karen Grunow-Hårsta’s new job title—the Dean of the “School of Art, Humanities, and Social Sciences”—will appear on all diplomas of students under programs currently in SJMVA and SHSS, according to the Dean.

It is important for students to know that their fields of study—their programs, their minors, and their concentrations—are not affected by the change in legal status of the university, nor will the change affect this information on their diplomas (besides the Dean’s job title), according to Vice Dean Colleen Timmons.

“How will it impact the administration? We hope that we can reduce redundancies, make things a little more streamlined, more efficient, and have more time to spend on you,” explained Grunow-Hårsta.

The final update was about a pilot-schedule change originally proposed last semester: a block-class schedule, meeting twice a week for class instead of once. Students and faculty alike were not thrilled with the idea last semester, so the pilot project was amended to only include select first-year courses.

Photo by: Ela Angevine

The format would be two-day-a-week, 75-min classes on Monday and Wednesday (for first-year courses) while Tuesday and Thursdays would remain as they have been. Additionally, the Monday/Wednesday schedule would start later and end earlier—8:30 to 20:15—with a break in-between called “Community Time” for campus events, according to Timmons and Kibko.

“This may not really affect you much because we are specifying that it is just for those selected first-year courses. We wanted to make you aware that this is something that we are trying; we’ll see how it goes,” said Timmons.

Other Helpful Information:

Journalism and Business, both “professional” schools, have externally accredited concentrations listed with the program name on the diplomas. Humanities and Visual Arts have internally accredited concentrations, which are listed separately from the program name on the Diploma supplement—a legal document students may also provide to future employers in addition to the diploma, according to Timmons.

Timmons highlighted the much confused distinction between a “Major,” your specific degree program (“Humanities, Society, and Cultural Studies,” for example), a “Minor,” courses taken separate from your field of study (you can minor in “Business” if you are a Humanities student), and a “Concentration,” an alternative track within a Major (“Journalism, Media and Culture,” for example).

“Between the Current Student page or AAUNET, you should be able to get to most information that you might need,” said Timmons, echoing the sentiments of the other Admin staff, “If you have a question about something or you don’t know where to find certain information, please reach out to the Dean’s office.” 

Photo by: Ela Angevine

The Town Hall ended with an overview of helpful resources, such as the psychological counseling now available in Russian and Ukrainian languages, and opening the floor to questions.

Student turnout was higher than other AAU events. When asked if she was there for the food or the information, Lora Lukova joked: “Both! But maybe more for the food.”

UPDATE: Originally the merging of the programs’ names was going to happen around the time AAU formalized its new legal status as a Joint Stock Organization instead of a non-profit in a year’s time, according to Vice Dean Colleen Timmons. But updated information from the Dean suggests the merger will happen sooner.