Our view:45 sometimes isn’t enough

DKS Editors

At the Educational Policies Council’s September meeting, the Provost’s Office introduced a policy requiring students to declare a major after completing 45 credit hours was introduced.

As stated in the Certification of Curriculum Proposal, the specific recommendation and justification for the new policy is: “To continue the excellence in action agenda and promote greater student success, the University will place a 45 SCH (student credit hours) limit in a non-degree granted major for all baccalaureate students at all campuses and colleges.”

The proposal argues that research conducted shows that students who have not declared a major are at risk of withdrawing from college, particularly after their second year. The data supporting the argument reflects percentages from 2003 to 2005.

Earlier this semester, however, the fifteenth day statistics released by the Office of Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness show that retention for undergraduate non-degree students is up 8.4 percent compared to last year.

On average, students complete 45 credit hours just by the end of their third semester. Typically, 36 of those 45 hours belong to Liberal Education Requirements. Are nine hours of major classes enough for a student to get a feeling for it? Is visiting an adviser going to clearly orient a student on deciding upon a major? What will be the impact on students if they have the option of switching majors for as long as they wish? What good will it do if a student chooses a major just because they have to, and then wastes time and money on taking classes they don’t enjoy? Not every student is clear on what his or her path is, and being pushed to decide won’t help.

A consequence of not implementing this policy, the proposal states, is that “the university will not impact its graduation rate without a clear process and support system helping students to find an academic direction.”

But for undergraduate students, jargon-free, how is this policy really going to benefit them?

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.