CHC’s new minor in legal studies is a welcome addition to the curriculum.
Not designed to be a “pre-law” program that provides legal or paralegal training, this minor, instead, encourages students to develop an understanding of the role of our legal system within our civil institutions and explores major legal issues from a multidisciplinary perspective. It will draw on courses offered in political science, history, criminal justice, digital forensics, business, psychology and religious studies/philosophy.
According to Jacqueline Reich, associate professor of political science and coordinator of the program, one of the most common questions asked of political science faculty at open houses is whether there is an undergraduate legal studies program at Chestnut Hill. Students and their parents believe that a structured legal studies program will help document their interest in law and legal affairs and the steps they have taken to support that interest. And if they plan to continue on to law school, the students’ liberal arts background will be a plus.
Many areas of study at CHC already include information about law and legal studies, including sports management, women’s studies, minority studies and religion, to name a few. While many students have a general knowledge about citizenship rights and responsibilities, many lack knowledge about basic citizenship and governmental functions.
According to Reich, an increased understanding of civic responsibility is part of CHC’s responsibility toward its students.
"Through this minor, we are promoting opportunities for more students to cultivate a sense of social justice and for them to learn how they can become citizens in local and global contexts, and will help to build a richer civic responsibility environment at CHC," she says.
It also will help raise awareness of potential classroom-to-career linkages that are important for all students to grasp and makes the connections that are a basic part of study in the liberal arts.
"It's intended to attract interest and provide something more job-oriented, while still giving students our great education," she says.