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Vote passed to change curriculum calendar

November 12, 2010

At a meeting on Tuesday Nov. 9, Monmouth College faculty voted to change the academic curriculum calendar. How this change will take place still has to be worked out.

Prior to the vote there were many questions as to the benefits of a calendar change. President Ditzler addressed these concerns saying that Monmouth’s trustees expect change. He also said the college has been considering a major change for several years and that now is the best time for it.

Changing the calendar is meant to reduce faculty and student workload. The idea behind it is that if there are fewer courses that students are required to take, then they will be able to work harder in the courses they have. The potentially lighter workload should also save the college money since having fewer courses will allow for a smaller faculty.

Professors were concerned that if students had fewer classes offered to them then there will be more students in each class.  Currently, the college has a student to faculty ratio of 14 to 1. Other ACM schools that have curriculums that the college is pursuing have roughly a 10 to 1 student to faculty ratio.

 Senior Jeremiah O’Steen expressed his concerns about student’s ability to double-major if there are fewer classes offered.  The faculty answered that those students may have to remain at Monmouth for an extra semester or possibly another year. 

There are several different options possible for change of the college calendar and/or course requirements. The first option is a quarter system. In this system students would take a 10-course load per year. The courses would be broken up into a 3-3-4, 3-4-3 or a 4-3-3 system. Each class would meet for 150 minutes a week for 10-11 weeks. 

There would be three quarters with an additional quarter for extra course work or for students who need additional help. For example, if the chosen system is a 3-3-4, students will take three classes in the fall, three classes in the winter, four classes in the spring, and then a fourth quarter will then be made available.

Another option that is being weighed is a 4-1-4 or a 4-4-1 calendar system. There would be a month-long term in the middle, or at the end, of the usual two-semester. Some schools specify that students must take the one-month course in their first year and have it be on campus; others leave it open and simply require three of the four terms over the four year duration, this is also known as a “J-term” or a “May-mester” at other ACM schools.

A “split semester” is  another option on the table. This would mean that there would be terms of eight-week units separated by breaks of a week in the fall and spring. Under the split semester each full-semester course would count for four credits, or five for classes with a lab. Students’ workload would generally be 16 hours per semester.

Finally, there is an option to reduce the total number of credits that students need for graduation from Monmouth College. Choosing this option would essentially reduce the number of courses a student takes during a semester, as well as the number of courses that faculty will teach.

The faculty will meet the first Tuesday in December, where   sketches will be presented about possible cuts that will be made with the change.

This article includes information provided by Nicole Olin.

Contributing Writer

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