College Establishes New Academic Minors

From the April 2015 Desktop News | Two interdisciplinary minors focused on burgeoning academic fields have been created and can be pursued by students beginning in fall 2015.

The first, cybercrime, will combine classes on the technical aspects of thwarting cyber attacks and processing digital forensic evidence with classes on understanding criminal motivations. The second, Latin American, Caribbean and Latino studies, will allow students to explore the social, cultural, linguistic, political, economic and biological diversity of nations that make up more than two thirds of the western hemisphere’s population.

Both minors were created in response to growing interest and opportunities in these fields.


The demand for cybercrime professionals has grown significantly in recent years as electronic theft and fraud – and the policing necessary to prevent them − has grown. Some $16 billion was lost in 2014 due to data breaches at major retail chains worldwide. Last month, the Pentagon and Congress announced a plan to hire 3,000 cyber experts.

Dr. Lesley Reid, chair of UA’s Department of Criminal Justice, said cybercrime is a growing area in both defense and commerce.

“The goal is to attract students in other majors, like business and computer science,” Reid said. “Understanding motivations, risk-taking behavior – those are the things social scientists study, and this is just a new arena in which to do it.”

The cybercrime minor will include 18 hours of classes in the departments of criminal justice, computer science, psychology and accounting. Dr. Diana Dolliver, assistant professor in UA’s Department of Criminal Justice, said the minor will help bridge the gap between understanding computers and the people who use them.

“Currently there’s a disconnect between criminal justice and the broader social sciences, and computer science and information technology,” she said. “Our degree program is aimed at bridging that gap. We’re providing one of the first such programs in the country that is housed in a social sciences department.”

For more information about the cybercrime minor, contact Dr. Diana Dolliver at 205/348-2062 or or Dr. Lesley Reid at 205/348-1792 or

Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies

The Latin American, Caribbean and Latino studies minor was also created in response to high interest in the field. The minor dovetails with UA’s longtime Alabama-Cuba Initiative, which was expanded in February to include the Center for Cuba Collaboration and Scholarship.

Dr. Steven Bunker, associate professor in the Department of History and director of the minor, said the minor is multi-faceted and an intense exploration of people and nations with deep ties to the United States. The minor includes classes in American studies, anthropology, biology, economics, English, gender and race studies, history, modern languages and political science.

Bunker said the minor helps students integrate a broad array of information about the region in a meaningful way, which is useful both for the sake of knowledge and job prospects.

“Language and cultural skills and knowledge of the region are attractive to many employers in Alabama and in the rest of the United States, as the Latino population is the fastest-growing demographic in the nation,” he said. “Students in traditional humanities and social sciences disciplines as well as students in community health, nursing, criminal justice, law and business will find this minor valuable in making them competitive in the job market both here and abroad.”

Bunker said student students majoring in history, languages, political science and anthropology would especially benefit from the minor in that it takes a more holistic and integrated approach to the region.

“Students in these fields might be surprised at the rewards of taking a course that they might not usually consider, like economics,” he said. “Similarly, I think that students majoring in more specific fields like nursing, community health and business could also benefit from incorporating this broader experience into their training given the global aspect of their studies.”

Twenty-four, full-time faculty members are affiliated with the minor, which Bunker says “helps bring richness to the region and the minor.”

For more information about the Latin American, Caribbean and Latino studies minor, contact Dr. Steven Bunker at 205/348-1917 or