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4-4 proposal fails

September 6, 2011

Joe Florio/The Courier-Faculty members count the final votes on Tuesday's 4-4 calendar change proposal. Top (left to right): David Timmerman and Ken McMillan. Bottom (left to right): George Perry, Chris Johnston, Stacy Lotz and Brian Baugh.

For now, no changes will be made to Monmouth’s academic calendar. The current proposal was narrowly defeated in a vote of 47 to 48 in a special faculty meeting.

The faculty met Tuesday evening for two hours to discuss a model for a new academic calendar that had been drawn up by a faculty committee over the summer. The model outlined a plan for implementing the calendar change approved last spring. The change would move Monmouth from its current semester calendar to a calendar based on four four-credit-hour courses per semester.

The proposal sparked extensive debate. Those speaking in favor of the proposal argued that it would reduce student and faculty course load, and that would allow for richer and more engaged curriculum.

“Moving to students taking four courses and faculty teaching fewer courses is an opportunity for us to focus and I think that’s very important as we’re thinking about creating citizens for the 21st century,” said Hannah Schell, professor of philosophy and religious studies.

Several faculty members expressed reservations about the proposal. Simon Cordery, professor of history, proposed delaying the vote on the proposal until February to allow for more time to discuss the proposal and to tie up loose ends.

Faculty from the education department feared that the new calendar might force them to teach more classes per year in order to meet state requirements.

Several faculty members felt the proposal’s reduction of art and science requirements to one course each as well as its elimination of the human societies requirement would hurt students educational experience and that the calendar change amounted to a curriculum change.

“I think we weaken the experience that the students will have,” said Christopher Fasano, professor of physics. “I feel like we’re narrowing their experience. They’re going to be more focused and less broad.”

Several others defended the reduced general education requirements in the proposal.

“We kept art. We kept science,” said Ken Cramer, professor of biology. “When the committee looked at where we could cut with the least pain, I think they came up with pretty reasonable solutions.”

The defeat of the current proposal does not spell the end for a new 4-4 calendar. President Mauri Ditzler asked the faculty senate to meet immediately to draft a new proposal to be brought back to the general faculty as quickly as possible. Ditzler asserted that moving forward quickly with another proposal is vital for Monmouth’s academic improvement and the college’s future.

“We cannot let this time pass. We’ve worked too hard to get here and the stakes are too high,” said Ditzler.

Wesley Teal
News Editor

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