Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cara's Major

I got a really fun new homemaking book.  I didn't realize it when I bought it, but it is actually a book for home economics teachers on how to be better teachers.  Cool!  I was stumped by the first chapter, though, when it told me that in order to be a certified home ec teacher, I need to have an education degree with a home economics major from a reputable institution.  A home economics major?!?!  That was a possibility?? Where was I?  I could have taken COLLEGE CLASSES on how to be a good housewife?

No.  As it turns out, I could not have done that.  I checked MSU's website, and their whole home economics (AKA "Home Ecology") department has been shut down for years.  Not only is it no longer a major, but there aren't even classes covering the topics.  I can take a class on the life cycle of a fly, the literature of the Lord of the Rings, scuba diving, or the history of Lao, but I can't take a class on cooking and cleaning?  That's ridiculous!  Isn't college supposed to prepare students for their future?  Most students are going to do much more cooking and cleaning in their life than traveling to Lao, so I think practical classes in homemaking should definitely be offered (possibly even required...but that's another argument altogether).

Anyway, I got pretty heated up about this injustice while talking to my friend Elle.  She said "You should give MSU a piece of your mind!"  She was most likely being sarcastic, but I thought that it was a fabulous idea.  I first decided to write them a strongly worded e-mail, but who wants to wait for a reply?  Plus, I wasn't confident that they would reply at all.  I decided to give them a call.

I, as a rule, do not lie, so I had to come up with a good excuse to call.  Here is what I came up with:  "Hello, Admissions?  My name is Christine.  My little sister Cara is looking at possibly to coming to MSU, and I'm helping her explore her options.  Do you offer a home economics major? Like, where you can learn to cook and clean and such?"  Of course, the answer was no.  The person on the phone sounded like a student, and she also sounded like she thought I was nuts.  I asked why they don't have a home economics major anymore, and she answered that they've never had one.  I replied with "Actually, yes you did.  Mary Mayo started it, and now you have a residence hall named after her.  I'm just wondering why there are no longer any ways to study this topic at your university?"  The snarky student said, "Well, I don't remember ever having a major like that."  Oh, really?  You don't remember it?  Well then, I guess it never happened.  Michigan State University has 40,000+ students and hundreds of majors.  Is this kid really so pretentious as to think that she knows all MSU majors past and present?  I responded with, "Well, sorry you don't remember it.  It wasn't a major while you attended school, but it used to be one.  I'm sure of it."

Now certain that she was dealing with a crazy person, the admissions girl gave the only logical answer she could think of:  "Ummm........I'm going to transfer you to the registrar....."  Okay, you do that.

The lady at the registrar was older and seemed to have more time to deal with me.  I explained my situation, and again I got the same answer: no home ec major.  She, at least, admitted that there used to be one.  I asked if there were even any classes pertaining to home economics subjects.  Nope, none.  Then I asked the question of the day: "Why?  Why are there no ways to study such a practical field?"  She didn't know.  I pressed further: "What causes classes to be discontinued?  Was there low enrollment?  Did people feel it was outdated?  More importantly, how do we bring back a class to study these things?  My sister needs this class!"  The registrar lady didn't know, didn't know, and didn't know...  What are these people good for?  Why can't they answer my questions?  And most importantly...

Where am I supposed to go to get my masters degree in homemaking?


  1. Try Institut Villa Pierrefeu--the last finishing school in Switzerland. If you take their seven week summer course, you can learn about international etiquette, hostessing, cooking, baking, and home management :) -Brooke

  2. My maternal grandmother graduate from Michigan State College (yes, back when it was still the College) with a bachelor's degree in home ec. She went on to teach home ec at the high school in my hometown for over 25 years. Thought you would get a kick out of it. :) -Tasha

  3. The more modernized name for what used to be known as Home Economics is Family and Consumer Science. I think land-grant universities are more likely to offer FCS courses. I know for a fact that my husband took a FACS class at Virginia Tech not too long ago!