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Mendoza drops 24 credits in core curriculum to make room for electives

Flexibility is the name of the game for current first-year and future business majors at Notre Dame. 

A new college-level core curriculum approved for this year’s first-year undergraduates in the Mendoza College of Business includes 24 fewer credit hours, or eight courses, to check off their four-year plan of study. 

Courses no longer required of all business majors include:

  • Statistic for Business I
  • Accountancy II
  • Business Technology and Analytics
  • Business Law
  • Managerial Economics
  • Macroeconomic Analysis
  • Foresight/Business Problem Solving
  • Process Analysis

At the same time, the class of 2026 and beyond will have nine credit hours, or typically three courses, to take “broadening electives.” The stipulation is that the nine hours must be taken in at least two business departments outside the student’s primary major.

Why was the curriculum changed?

Martijn Cremers, dean of the college, said the core changes allow students to have more control over their undergraduate studies while still providing a “comprehensive business education.”

“The key ‘why’ is to allow our students to be able to take more ownership of their own curriculum and ideally, allow them to take another major outside of the college,” Cremers said. 

The change is also part of a larger plan to offer more time for discernment among underclassmen. In fall 2019, in Cremers’ year as interim dean, the college began allowing first-years to take Mendoza courses, making the undergraduate degree a four-year program as opposed to three.

“The old structure meant that the sophomore year was completely dominated by business courses,” Cremers said, adding that students had less time to decide whether to switch majors within Mendoza or have the opportunity to transfer to another college within Notre Dame. 

Mendoza will continue to offer its five majors: finance, accounting, marketing, management consulting and business analytics. 

Assistant dean Andrew Wendelborn manages the advising office and serves as the point person for undergraduate affairs in Mendoza. Wendelborn said he thinks it will allow students to expand their skill set, leading to more opportunities for a wider variety of internships.

“Today, people aren’t just doing accounting,” he said. “People are dabbling in all sorts of stuff.”

Wendelborn’s office also approves all Mendoza study abroad applications. He says studying abroad should become not only more flexible, but more doable, as students can consider programs that don’t offer any business courses.

“We want to see, can you still graduate, do that location without business and be done in eight semesters,” he said. “So with the reduction in the College Core, that’s opening up a whole other batch of credits [and] I think it’s going to be more attractive for business students to take a location that has no business courses.”

However, all current sophomores, juniors and seniors must finish out the old requirements, regardless of where they are in their degree.

Junior Morgan Rader, a finance and economics double major, expects to be done with her core requirements by the end of her junior year. And that’s with a planned semester abroad in London. While she can’t take advantage of the new space in the curriculum, she sees it as a holistic education for future business students.

“I guess I’m not really benefiting from it,” she said, “But I like the idea that people will have more flexibility to actually just take classes they’re interested in rather than having a set schedule plan that they have to do.”

Rader added that she thinks it may be beneficial for students to still have a “recommended” schedule to promote a well-rounded one. 

Given that he is in a student-facing role, Wendelborn acknowledges that he knows some upperclassmen are disappointed they missed the change by a year or two.

“Just to be fair to everybody and consistent, we had to signal that we’re going to start with the class of 2026,” he said. “That’s just the nature of the office.”

Implementation to affect faculty course assignments

All courses cut from the core curriculum will still be available for students to take rather than phased out, Cremers said, but they will be offered under new names. In theory, any incoming student could take the same exact curriculum as the class of 2025 and older.

Yet, as fewer students inevitably enroll in the dropped core classes, professors will have to shift to teach different ones.

“We’ve made it very clear, very explicit, that due to these changes, no faculty will lose any opportunity to teach here,” he said. “We will ask some faculty to teach a different course that’s still within their expertise.”

The less structured curriculum is also built to offer faculty a chance to be more creative and free to teach specialized courses on topics of interest to them, Cremers said. 

While this fall’s news has been years in the making, Cremers noted he didn’t know the last time the curriculum had been changed, just that it had been a while.

“We haven’t revisited the Core for a long time,” he said. “So I do think it’s a good idea to occasionally do this.”

Contact Alysa Guffey at aguffey@nd.edu.

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Sports

Guffey: Why tennis is the best fan experience in sports

On Sunday, Sept. 11, Carlos Alcaraz won the U.S. Open in New York and subsequently became the youngest men’s tennis player to reach No. 1 in the world. That name was especially familiar to me. At only 19 years old, Alcaraz has become quite popular among young tennis players. I texted my brother, “didn’t we see him practice?” The answer was yes, we did.

Less than a month earlier, I had gone to the Western & Southern Open, a hard court tournament in Cincinnati just before the start of the U.S. Open. It’s less well known than the grand slam, but all of the major players — both on the men’s and women’s sides — go there every year without fail. It was at this tournament my family and I saw Alcaraz practicing on a court with just three rows of bleachers set up on either side. (There are high schools with more seating room than that.)

I had gone to the Western & Southern nine years ago and hadn’t been back since this August, but it had me thinking: Professional tennis is the best sports experience for fans out of any sport out there. Don’t believe me? Here’s why. 

There’s nowhere else you can get closer to athletes

Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams. One day in Cincinnati gave me and my family the opportunity to see all of these top-ranked players, along with dozens more. We went on one of the qualifying days, where players are competing to make it into the main draw of the tournament. This means the top players are probably not playing actual matches, but that’s even better. Instead of having an assigned seat in a large stadium court setting, you can stake out your favorite players on the practice schedule and attend their 30-minute to two-hour practice sessions. 

And most will stay after practice to sign hats and tennis balls for all the fans who stuck around for the entire practice session. When I went to the tournament in 2013, Novak Djokovic stayed for nearly an hour interacting with fans along every inch of the fence.

What other sport has professional practices open to everyone in the venue? The athletes even just walk on their own to the courts, meaning the player casually walking next to you could be No. 1 in the world or someone’s hitting partner. You never know. 

And, you have the freedom to choose who you watch. For instance, in the early days of bigger tournaments, you buy your grounds ticket with an assigned seat in the center court stadium. However, you have free reign to any of the practice courts and other matches for the entire day. It’s almost too much freedom as you have to decide which players you want to see the most. 

It’s international and year-round

The men’s ATP tour and fellow women’s counterpart WTA tour spans over 30 countries with players of more than 100 nationalities. And while you most likely know of the four grand slams in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York, the tours are hosted in countries and cities all over the world, giving its global fan base a chance to see their favorites anywhere.

Talk to a tennis fan in the U.S., and I would bet there’s a good chance their favorite tennis pro isn’t American. But even though they’re from a different country, they can most likely see them play in person in several cities across the U.S., from Miami to D.C. 

And with the four major tournaments spread out from January to September, there’s never a shortage of high-level tennis to watch.

It’s fun

As a disclaimer, I have played tennis my whole life, and it’s sort of a family sport, so I am a bit biased when it comes to rating how enjoyable tennis is to watch. But, there’s nothing tennis fans care about more than seeing good tennis, and it’s easy to get sucked in. 

Whether you want to check eating strawberries and cream at Wimbledon off your bucket list or need something to do in Cincinnati for a day, try a tennis tournament. Go to watch tennis, hang out with friends, drink, eat — whatever! I promise it’ll be a grand slam.

Contact Alysa Guffey at aguffey@nd.edu.

The views in this Sports Authority are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Categories
Viewpoint

This time is yours

For 16 years, I’ve measured my life in school years.

Fall is an exciting fresh start, full of hope and promise. Winter is a halftime break. Spring is a time to wrap up and summer is a timeless in-between. It’s part of the reason I’ve always disliked spring. The trees and flowers may start to bloom and the sun comes out behind its permacloud, but the season is more so a period of goodbyes, endings and change. And sometimes, I don’t want to talk about the way that it was.

Freshman years are for learning names, sophomore years don’t matter all that much and when junior years roll around, there’s a feeling of superiority and independence that comes from being an upperclassman.

And then there’s senior year: the beginning of the end, the pinnacle of it all. 

College is a place where everyone here is in a different stage of their life, but also the same — learning more about the subjects that have always interested them, figuring out what they want to do in their life and taking leaps of faith toward the future.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I’ll measure the passing of time once I’m done with college. When everything you’ve ever known is different, what happens? But the thing about your four years at college is that it’s so much more than school. It’s living steps away from your best friends. It’s being no more than one degree of separation away from any student. It’s laying on the quad until 3 a.m. on a Monday night just talking.

For some people (read: me), it’s finishing up the newspaper at 4 a.m. so it can be distributed throughout the tri-campus. While The Observer is my college endeavor, everyone devotes themselves to their own passion in their four years here.

I spent the past summer living away from home for the first time. (Yeah, I’ve lived at Notre Dame for the past three years, but something about living in a small dorm room with your best friend makes campus feel a lot like home.) Living somewhere else made me realize that Notre Dame is an escape, for better and for worse. 

Here, days are measured in class schedules, lunch breaks, study sessions, parties, extracurricular meetings, on-campus jobs and walks around the quads. Weeks are measured by assignments, tests and time until mid-semester breaks. Then before you know it, fall turns to spring real quick. 

And a lot of the time, you get too caught up to think about it. 

As I spent most of the summer trying to decide what I wanted to say in this column, my mind kept going back to what I learned from a magazine writing class last semester taught by Kerry Temple. He talked about the importance of thinking time: time to mull over ideas and thoughts and time to figure out what you actually want to write, not what you write in the rush of the moment. He said he gets that most college students don’t have time to do this.

It hit me that he was right — I didn’t feel like I had the time to let thoughts, ideas and feelings simmer in my mind.

And that’s the advice I have for first-years. Give yourself time to stop and think. College is fun, but it’s more bittersweet and fleeting than you first realize. Measure it by the number of nights spent with friends, hours spent in a meeting for your favorite extracurricular and minutes of a home football game. The time is yours.

The views in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

A version of this column was published in our Aug. 19 issue.

Alysa Guffey

Alysa is a senior majoring in history with minors in digital marketing and journalism, ethics and democracy. Contact her at aguffey@nd.edu.