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Archive for Thursday, May 19, 1994

GRADUATES WANT SHEEPSKINS TO REFLECT THEIR DEGREE MAJORS

May 19, 1994

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KU officials are discussing possible changes in diplomas after some College of Liberal Arts and Sciences graduates complained that their diplomas don't list majors.

Charles Seckar feels anonymous.

The 1994 Kansas University graduate majored in biochemistry, but you wouldn't know by his diploma whether his field was economics, German or geography.

"You spend years going to this school and thousands of dollars and you'd think the least they could do is get us a diploma that we can be proud of," he said.

"I'm disappointed. My parents are (angry)."

Seckar is one of hundreds of students who received bachelor of arts degrees from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences this year.

He and several other students are upset because their diplomas do not list majors. The diplomas simply state "bachelor of arts" degree.

More than 50 bachelor of arts majors can be obtained through the college, ranging from chemistry to English literature to sociology.

"It seems kind of ridiculous that the degrees are all interchangeable," said Mike Allison, a 1994 graduate who majored in English literature and creative writing.

"We feel like we're being cheated with some kind of 'form' diploma," he said. "It just doesn't have any distinction."

University Registrar Rich Morrell said the degrees do not list majors because to do so would be a contradiction in terms, in many cases.

"When you have a degree that is a bachelor of arts degree it's almost a contradiction to have (a science) listed," he said.

But because of students' complaints, university officials will review the format, he said.

Diplomas for bachelor of science degrees through the college do list the major.

Morrell said this is the first time he has heard any complaints about the omission of majors from the bachelor of arts degrees. He said the current format has existed at least 60 years.

Morrell, whose office produces and distributes diplomas, said liberal arts colleges at most other universities nationwide have a similar diploma format.

It would cost KU no additional money to list majors on diplomas, he said.

Morrell said the complaints have "generated some healthy discussion around here."

"Obviously, there won't be any decisions that will be made today," he said. "This is obviously a university decision."

The issue could be presented and discussed by university governance in upcoming months, he said.

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