Graduation requirements at Grand Rapids Community College may see a makeover soon, with the Academic Governing Council set to vote to bring the college closer in line with Michigan Transfer Agreement requirements.
This is a hotly contested vote among members of the council. Many employees and students will be affected. For some it will be a blessing, making it easier to obtain an associate’s degree. Others won’t be affected because they plan on transferring to a four-year university and will take the recommended courses that will prepare them for that next step.
Then there are the students headed to a four-year university, because that’s “what they’re supposed to do” and they will only do the bare minimum to get an associate’s degree. These are the students that faculty are concerned for when they talk about the proposed changes to graduation requirements.
If the new requirements are approved on Nov. 10, a student would only need three credits, instead of six, of English. Three credits in communications, could replace the English 102 class. The one-credit wellness class would be a thing of the past and so would the three-credit class, Survey of American Government (PS 110).
The last change is the most controversial. Even professors outside of the Social Sciences department have raised concerns about removing the introduction to government class from the requirements.
The importance of PS 110 goes beyond a grade and three credits. While it may not be the most fun class, students need to know how their government works, so they can be informed on issues that greatly affect them and be informed when voting.
If students only need one English class to graduate and are planning on moving on to a four-year university, they will be ill equipped to handle writing more detailed papers.
Most professors here at GRCC have a vested interest in preparing students for whatever is next. English 102 focuses more on writing longer form, research papers and is probably the most important class a student will take at GRCC. Entry level courses only scratch the surface and if students only take EN 100 or EN 101, they will lack the skill set of their future peers.
The wellness credit may seem like the easiest to let go, but it is necessary. It encourages students to do something active in their time at GRCC. Some students work many hours and don’t have the time to exercise. As result they live a lifestyle that is not as active as it should be.
The biggest problem with dropping the wellness credit is the fact that it would basically render an entire department irrelevant, causing many jobs to be in jeopardy. Not to mention the fact that $8.5 million is pledged for renovations on the Ford Fieldhouse, which seems kind of silly when that money is going to adding classrooms, for a department with all elective classes.
On Nov. 10 a vote by 66 college faculty and administrators will have a profound impact on students at the college. The voting members need to seriously consider the negative affect this vote will have on future GRCC students and vote no.