By Kayla Tucker – Editor-in-Chief
The provost approved graduation requirement changes that are set to take effect in the fall semester of 2017.
After the Grand Rapids Community College Academic Governing Council discussed the potential changes for a few months, they came down to a vote that approved all three changes.
The changes include the elimination of Survey of American Government (PS110) as a requirement. The course will still be offered. The wellness credit will also be eliminated as a requirement for graduation, but those courses will also still be offered. As for English credits, students will be given the option to either take six credits of English (EN101 and EN102) or three credits of English and three credits of communication.
Students already in an academic program or catalog will not be affected by these changes.
Provost Laurie Chesley was given 10 days to respond, and she approved the changes on Nov. 23.
“I carefully reviewed the work of the committee and carefully considered all of the materials and discussion presented at the Academic Governing Council and thought that there was good rationale and solid support of these changes,” Chesley said of the data and reasoning collected by the AGC.
The council based their discussion and decisions mainly on aligning with the Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) and research on what other Michigan community colleges offer.
The AGC found that the following colleges don’t require a government credit to graduate.
- Ferris State University
- Grand Valley State University
- Central Michigan University
- Western Michigan University
- Eastern Michigan University
- Michigan State University
FSU, CMU and EMU require a communication course to graduate and WMU is the only university out of the group that requires wellness credits to graduate.
The AGC gathered data from 2011 where 2,251 first-time, full-time, degree or certificate seeking students started at GRCC. Three years later, 13 percent of those students acquired a degree or certificate from the college and 24 percent transferred.
Reverse transfer rates showed that out of these students, 343 applications were submitted to universities, and 165 of those were denied. Of those denied, 27 students were missing a wellness credit, 11 were missing PS110 and four were missing EN102.
The AGC also found that through student data of the summer semester of 2014, fall 2014 semester and winter 2015 semester, 2,154 students had a GPA of 2.0 or higher, obtained 45 credits or higher, did not have a degree and had not applied for a degree. Of these specific students, 44.7 percent did not have a letter grade in wellness and 31.4 percent did not have a letter grade in PS110.
All of these students were not enrolled for the fall 2015 semester, which meant they were leaving the college without these credits.
The requirement changes are set to implemented by fall of 2017. Chesley said faculty and departments are going to need to look at their specific program requirements and “decide what courses they want to include or keep.”
By November 2016, a report will be shared with the provost on the progress of implementing these changes, by the dean of instructional support and the dean of arts and sciences.
The next formal review of the graduation requirements will take place in the 2021-22 academic year. If faculty or staff would like to have the requirements reviewed at an earlier date, they can request this through an Issue Paper, which the AGC will then vote whether to accept or decline.
Exercise Science Department Head Jodi Gee said her department will be moving forward with the change.
“From here we will work with programs to determine where the wellness credit fits in their programs,” Gee said. “Our department has been transforming over the last couple of years, so this change will become a part of our plan moving forward.”
Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 4:45 p.m. Dec. 1.