Faculty, students bring up issues with ‘4×4’ plan

“I have a lot of questions that need to be answered.” This is what many people in the Eastern community are saying about the proposed four by four curriculum program.

“Students would receive more exposure to ideas,” Bible professor Carl Mosser said. He added that he is unsure whether they would actually study more under the system.

Dean of Arts and Sciences, David Greenhalgh, has written a proposal called the white paper for the four by four curriculum. The purpose of this paper, according to Greenhalgh, is to provide a framework for discussion about the four by four curriculum model. It is his hope that the white paper will be a reference for advancing the discussion that will ultimately lead to an informed decision by the faculty in March 2006.

Eastern currently has a five class by three credit system which yearly gives students a total of 30 credits, while the four class by four credit system would give students a yearly total of 32 credits. Faculty normally teach four three-credit courses per semester for 24 “load hours.” This structure would give the same amount of load hours for the faculty, but would reduce the instruction to three four-credit courses each semester.

During the week of October 23, division chairs went to Wheaton College in Chicago, Illinois to discuss the four by four curriculum which Wheaton has implemented, according to Greenhalgh. Wheaton’s graduation requirements went up as a result of the change to the four by four curriculum, increasing by three credits to 124.

Education professor Jean Landis is most worried about education certification requirements.

“The reading program meets state competencies now, but if the program were to be condensed [as it would be under the new plan], it would not meet the state competencies,” she said.

Another question that Landis has is why universities that have implemented the four by four curriculum went back to the three by five curriculum.

“Research needs to be done to ask them why they went back,” Landis said.

Students also have questions about the curriculum program.

“I think it’s odd because most schools do three credit courses system,” sophomore psychology major Colleen Hays said. “But it sounds like it does have merit to it because the idea is to concentrate more on classes. I also think students can get more out of it, maybe, if they put more effort in a four credit course,” she added.

Greenhalgh spoke to the SGA about the proposed curriculum program on October 31.

The SGA requested that Greenhalgh attend another meeting to discuss more of the program. There is to be an open student forum on November 16, sponsored by SGA, to serve as an opportunity for students to ask questions and state concerns about the prospective plan.

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