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Faculty pass amended 4-4 calendar

October 6, 2011

After hours of debate Tuesday, Monmouth faculty voted to adopt the 4-4 calendar proposal drafted over the summer with two amendments. The proposal as amended passed by a vote of 45 to 38. The new calender is expected to be implemented in the 2012-2013 academic year.

The calendar change will shift Monmouth from its current semester-hour schedule to a 4-4 schedule where students will normally take four to four and half courses per semester. The courses will be the equivalent of four-credit-hour courses under the current system.

The new calendar will reduce current general education requirements by dropping the number of required art courses and the number of science courses from two courses each to one course each. The calendar drops the human societies requirement entirely.

Under the new calendar, students will generally be required to take 32 to courses to graduate, with courses required for their major being limited to between 12 and 14. Ten courses will be required for general education requirements and the remainder will be open for electives or a second major.

Physics professor Chris Fasano, who voted against the 4-4 calendar at the last faculty meeting, brought the same calendar proposal forward for consideration at Tuesday night’s meeting.

“As a scientist we have to be willing to remeasure things, even the speed of light,” said Fasano.

Although most of the debate at September’s faculty meeting focused on 4-4 proposal itself, most of Tuesday evening’s debate centered on three proposed amendments brought forward by Faculty Senate.

The first amendment discussed would have added a social science course with a quantitative reasoning component to the general education requirements. The amendment failed 36 to 47 with two abstentions.

The second amendment, which passed after some revision establishes a group of exceptional majors and programs that are exempt from the 12 to 14 major course limit. These majors and programs are biochemistry, 3-2 programs such as engineering, pre-professional health and education programs. Others may apply to the curriculum committee to be considered exceptional majors or programs.

The third amendment, which also passed after being revised, allows students to take the equivalent of an additional course in participation courses. Participation courses, which include music ensembles, some physical education courses, theater participation and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program among others, usually count as quarter or half courses under the new calendar. No more than 2.5 participation credits will count toward graduation.

Before the final vote of the evening, a few professors expressed their concerns and support for the 4-4 calendar. Math professor Marjorie Bond voiced her concern that the new calendar might weaken the academic program and that the current proposal needed further revision.

“I believe it is a bad idea because we are doing course inflation. We are asking our students to pay more and we’re offering them less,” said Bond. “I do not give As to students who say to me, ‘But I’ll revise it. Give me the A now.’ I don’t do that. I have to see the revision in order to give them a grade. I cannot, at this time, give this a passing grade.”

Philosophy and religious studies professor Hannah Schell spoke in favor of the proposed calendar change.

“I see this as actually being finally able to ask my students to do more, because they’re taking fewer courses,” said Schell. “I think our students want to be challenged.”

Wesley Teal
News Editor

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