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Singh backs expanded course options

Trinity sophomore Saurabh Singh, a candidate for Duke Student Government vice president for academic affairs, said he favors improving and expanding the University's course offerings.

"I want to focus on diversifying the curriculum, looking at the courses, seeing how students perceive their academic experience," he said.

Specifically, Singh-who currently serves on DSG's academic affairs committee-proposed gathering suggestions from majors in different department and cultural groups about possible new course options, then approaching departments with those suggestions. He added that he would like to study why courses with large wait-lists are not opened up to more students and taught more frequently.

As member of Diya, the South Asian Association, Singh said he had heard requests for help in establishing a Hindi major. Trinity senior Yogin Patel, co-president of Diya, said that the organization would appreciate Singh's efforts. "We've been trying for the past year to garner support from student and administration," Patel said.

Singh said he also wants to examine the numbers of credits given for lab courses, but has heard opposition from some students who argue that other classes require more time outside class.

Outgoing Vice President for Academic Affairs Ben Kennedy cautioned that such a plan would be difficult to implement because of its far-reaching effects. When Kennedy first came into his office, he said, he thought such a change would be easy, but now believes that modifications to credit numbers will only be undertaken after a large-scale study by the administration.

In addition, Singh said he would also like to improve the University's summer session program, specifically by increasing the social activities. "People won't take summer classes if they don't have a good time," he said.

Singh said he also hopes to increase the numbers of courses that students can use as transfer credits from two to four, and strongly advocated the continuation of the preceptorial program.

Singh said the Honor Code is not a large issue in his campaign-he cited no problems with proctored exams and that he believed cheating is not rampant at Duke. "It's not so bad having a [teaching assistant] hanging out in front of a class," he said.

In his current position as president pro tempore, Singh is responsible for running the DSG meetings in the absence of Executive Vice President Rusty Shappley and for assigning student representatives to different committees. Shappley said that Singh has performed both duties effectively.

For his part, Singh serves on the Student Advisory Council for Facilities and Management and Student Health Advisory Committee. Whereas the SACFAM has been effective, Singh said, he has met with Dr. Bill Christmas, Student Health Director, only once.

Trinity junior Michael Coffman, DSG legislator and member of the academic affairs committee, said Singhis enthusiastic to learn about academics at the University.

However, "he tends to be disjointed at times. He doesn't have the concentrational abilities to undertake the position at times," Coffman said.

Kennedy agreed that Singh is very personable and enthusiastic. "It's fun to see someone who doesn't get caught up in any pretensions of DSG," he said.

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