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Illinois Wesleyan University students walk by the Center for Natural Science on campus last September. The university is adding six new minors and concentrations for the 2019-20 academic year.

BLOOMINGTON — The American Studies program at Illinois Wesleyan University is being renamed, with new concentrations and minors — including actuarial science and statistics — added to the college's more than 80 existing majors, minors and programs.

The actuarial science minor is designed to prepare students for exams that are required to become an actuary. It will include classes aligned with the Validation by Educational Experience, a requirement for any actuary position, according to IWU officials.

“This minor will allow our program to be recognized as an advanced undergraduate program in actuarial science,” said Zahia Drici, mathematics department professor and chair.

Students who complete the minor will be able to assess risk and uncertainty in insurance, finance and other industries and professions, according to the university. The minor joins a newly added actuarial science concentration for math majors.

In another change, math majors can choose statistics as a concentration and non-majors will be able to minor in statistics.

“Of the 10 jobs the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to grow the fastest in the 2016-26 decade, only 'statistician' and 'software application developer' are not in the health care industry,” said Drici. “In fact, according to the Statistical Association, the number of undergraduates in the U.S. majoring in statistics is not enough to meet the demand from employers.”

The major and minor formerly known as American Studies has been revised and renamed American Cultural Studies. New concentrations within the program include African-American studies, Latinx Studies and Native-American Studies.

The university is adding four other minors.

Film studies, to be led by Thomas Quinn, associate professor of theater arts, will challenge students to develop analytical and interpretive skills. Students in this minor also will learn how to create their own motion pictures through courses that include digital videography, editing and post-production, screenwriting and storyboarding.

The university will offer minors in French and Francophone Studies and in Italian Studies. The minors will go beyond language proficiency and build knowledge of French or Italian culture through such things as literature, film and cultural history. There will also be a travel course to Italy focusing on the Renaissance.

The other new minor is Religious Diversity. The five-course minor requires students to take two courses about pluralism and interactions among religions, then three classes on three different religious traditions.

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Contact Lenore Sobota at (309) 820-3240. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Sobota

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