The Department of English and Humanities at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh organized a workshop titled “How to Pick a Minor” on March 22, 2022. The workshop invited faculty members from MSJ, BBA, CSD, GED, EEE and CSE departments offering minor courses to the DEH students. It also welcomed selected senior DEH students who chose these subjects as minors. The aim of the workshop was to help the students who will be declaring their minor in Spring 2022 to make their decisions about a minor suitable for them.
Ms. Arifa Ghani Rahman, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of English and Humanities, initiated the program with her welcoming remarks to the guest faculty members of the different departments of ULAB as well as the student speakers of DEH.
The first segment of the workshop consisted of faculty conversations, which began with Ms. Nandita Tabassum Khan, Senior Lecturer and Undergrad Program Coordinator from the Media Studies and Journalism department. Ms. Khan presented the course list of the MSJ minor and categorized them into various clusters and suggested clusters of courses which students can take if they want a career in a specific field. Students wanting a career in communication could take courses related with Strategic Public Relations. In contrast, if they want a career in production writing, students may take Writing for Film and Television, Aesthetics of Film, Introduction to Animation, Introduction to Photography, and Communication and Technology. Ms. Khan also informed students that for batch 203 onwards students declaring MSJ as minor can take two new courses: Visual Communication, and Cinema Studies. Towards the end of her talk, Ms. Khan showcased two projects – one photography and another animation, done by previous MSJ minor students. She concluded by mentioning that the MSJ department also invites renowned professionals in their fields to impart their knowledge onto the students of different courses.
The next speaker, Mr. Faisal Mohammad Shahriar, Assistant Professor and Co-coordinator of the BBA Program at ULAB, welcomed anyone interested in learning about the different aspects of business administration from a theoretical and practical perspective to take BBA as their minor. Mr. Shahriar explained the course structure which is distributed in three tiers: Tier 1 comprising compulsory courses like Function to Business, Principles of Accounting and Business Communication. He suggested that students take the Tier 1 courses in the first semesters of starting their minor in BBA. Tier 2 includes optional courses like Principles of Management, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Business Statistics 1, from which students take any one course. Mr. Shahriar suggested the course, Principles of Management, which would help students get an idea on how to plan, coordinate, lead and control resources of an organization to achieve the organizational goals. Lastly, Tier 3, which consists of optional courses like Introduction to Finance, Principles of Marketing, Human Resource Management, MIS and E-commerce, where students can also choose any one course. Mr. Shahriar ended his talk by adding that a minor in business will help students become a professional regardless of the organization they enter. It would help any professional become more organized and overcome any problems, gain better perspectives and become a better person.
Dr. Rumana Sultana, Assistant Professor and Research Fellow, affiliated with the Center for Sustainable Development at ULAB, provided insightful details about the courses offered by the Center and opportunities that students may avail as a result of doing a minor in this discipline. Dr. Sultana elaborated that their offered courses focus on the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations member states. The following goals, SDG 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 17 are emphasized more in the courses. Dr. Sultana additionally explained the course structure, where students have to take two compulsory courses, Introduction Sustainable Development and Social Theory and Methods of Social Research, the first course offering an introduction to the various SDGs while the latter is about social research relevant to sustainable development. Among the five optional courses, provided by the Center, Environmental Science, Introduction to Climate Change Debate, Biodiversity and Nature Conservation, Organic Farming and Seminar on Grassroots Economic Development, students can choose any three. Dr. Sultana also spoke about students availing the opportunity to be an intern for the Center for Sustainable Development Studies, or taking part in research with faculty members in the Center and publishing papers in high impact journals which would enrich their CVs and help them get enrolled in reputed universities abroad as well as secure jobs. Dr. Rumana Sultana drew her speech to an end by mentioning that the Center offers opportunities to students by exploring what skills students have and where they can use and nurture them, and how they can commit themselves to do something bigger than themselves.
Professor Shahnaj Husne Jahan, Professor of Archaeology and the Founder and Director of the Center for Archaeological Studies, as well as the Head of the Department of General Education at ULAB, shared her words of advice and wisdom regarding taking ‘Optional’ as a minor. The Professor also applauded DEH’s initiative to hold an informative workshop on minor selection and suggested that students should make sure they have completed all courses before doing minor courses. She also shed light on how students can think of what they want to be in their professional life, where they want to contribute and try to relate the minor courses to their own department’s courses. This way, students can easily choose the minor they want. As the GED department offers 50 courses each term and students can choose about five, Professor Jahan suggested that they should cluster courses from one specific field instead of choosing at random. This would also provide them with expert knowledge on that discipline. In addition, the Professor advised that students can take a group of similar courses under any one of the broader subjects from History, Art and Architecture, Philosophy and Religion, Society and Culture, Development Studies, etc. Professor Shahnaj Husne Jahan concluded by adding that students can broaden their knowledge by doing ‘Optional’ as a minor.
The penultimate faculty speaker of the workshop was Dr. Mirza Rasheduzzaman from the Electrical and Electronics Engineering department. He is an Assistant Professor in the EEE Department and the Department Coordinator. Dr. Rasheduzzaman began by mentioning the areas of electronics, power, communication and computer, which the minor courses focus on. While discussing the minor course list, Dr. Rasheduzzaman mentioned that for now students taking a minor in EEE will have to solve mathematical problems in most of the courses. However, the department plans to introduce courses where it will focus less on mathematics and theoretical aspects and more on the application so that students from other departments know how the solutions offered by engineers can be applied in different aspects of our lives. Dr. Rasheduzzaman also discussed career opportunities for DEH students doing minor in EEE, some of which included Public Relations Manager, Technical Writer, Social Media Consultant and Entrepreneur.
The final faculty speaker, Dr. Farhana Sarker, Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science Engineering, reiterated the importance of knowing which career path to take, setting a goal and then choosing a minor, as was also mentioned by Professor Shahnaj Husne Jahan. While talking about the minor course list, Dr. Sarker briefly discussed the content of some courses, namely Multimedia Design and Development- where students will learn about graphics and animation simultaneously. Another course named Tech Start-up is a timely course as mentioned by Dr. Sarker since, in recent times, the young generation have become interested in building up their own tech company. This course, therefore, will give an insight on how to proceed with the plan from beginning to end, while simultaneously helping students to analyze some case studies. Other courses offered by the department include: Cloud Computing, E-commerce, Management Information System, Web Application Design, System Analysis and Design, ICT for Development, Data Analytics, Internet of Things, Cyber Security, etc. Dr. Sarker, wrapped up her discussion by encouraging students to take CSE as a minor if they are interested in IT-related careers.
The last segment of the workshop, which consisted of senior students sharing their experiences of taking minors in specific fields, commenced with Sheikh Tasmima Mrenmoi, from batch 182, who is working on her minor in Media Studies and Journalism. She started off by mentioning the content of the MSJ courses, namely, Strategic Public Relations, Aesthetics of Film, Communication and Technology, Introduction to Photography and Reading Media Text. She briefly elaborated on the contents of the Reading Media Text course, which she is currently doing. The course is mostly theoretical but it also calls on students’ critical thinking skills in analyzing short films, advertisements and other media texts. When talking about her reasons for choosing MSJ as a minor, she mentioned that she was always fascinated by the fusion of media and literature. Moreover, writing and editing always interested her and she believes the knowledge imparted by her departmental courses combined with her minor courses will help her achieve her dream.
The next student speaker was Fahrin Hasan, currently an MA student at DEH, who chose BBA as her undergraduate minor. Fahrin began by listing the BBA courses she completed which included Introduction to Business, Business Communication, Principles of Management, Principles of Marketing and Principles of Accounting. While reminiscing about why she took BBA as her minor, Fahrin shared that since she was from Commerce background in her school years, it was easy for her to choose the minor. Lastly, she also suggested that in order to navigate the courses well, students should attend all the lectures, thoroughly follow what is taught, and take notes. Additionally, they need to understand the theoretical courses from their own perspectives, and practice a lot in the Accounting course since it is mostly mathematical.
The next student speaker, Mohammad Ekramul Islam Khan, chose the Optional minor track. While outlining his reasons for taking Optional as a minor, he mentioned that his perspectives aligned with the GED courses and he felt it would fulfill his purpose of doing courses which were highly relatable to Bangladeshi contexts. He named and briefly described the content of the courses he took, which included Introduction to Political Thought, Principles of Economics, Introduction to Sustainable Development, Global Political Economy and Environmental Science. In addition, he also outlined the benefits of doing Optional as a minor, and, as an example he shared that after doing the course, Political Thought and learning about Adam Smith’s view on the economic system, he could compare and contrast with the economy of Bangladesh. While talking about future prospects of this particular type of minor, he shared that students can go into research in various fields, teach in non-governmental organizations, apply for public administrator jobs, and many more.
The final student speaker for the workshop was Shahriyer Hossain Shetu, who chose Sustainable Development as a minor. He began by sharing a mouthwatering contrast with food and the various minor courses. He then discussed the Sustainable Development courses he completed, which included, Introduction to Climate Change Debate, Biodiversity and Nature Conservation, Introduction Sustainable Development, Environmental Science, and Social Theory and Methods of Social Research. His reasons for being motivated to take Sustainable Development as a minor were because Sustainable Development aligned with his interests and connected with his future goals. He also suggested that, if anyone is interested in research, higher studies or would like to do something for the environment, taking SD as a minor would be the first step to achieving that dream. He further added that, after graduation, some students are also called and offered the position of Research Assistant which comes with lucrative incentives. Lastly, he suggested that students can apply to Teach for Bangladesh if they want to focus on a specific Sustainable Development goal such as Quality Education.
The event was hosted by Amreeta Lethe Chowdhury and the poster for the workshop was designed by Afrida Lubaba Khan.
Report by Umme Hani Anika (212055017), Teaching Assistant, DEH