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Minimum Graduation Credits Lowered

By Acadia Otlowski

Students may soon need fewer credits to graduate.

The Faculty Senate passed a proposal to reduce the number of classes required for graduation from 122 credits to 120 credits, effective for students who are matriculating in the Fall 2014 semester.

The measure originally called for the two credit reduction to occur in the area of unrestricted electives. A motion was made to amend the resolution, striking the paragraph that mentioned the area from which the credits would be taken.  This took the place of another amendment, which suggested that the two credit loss be either in the unrestricted elective or in the form of the physical education class, PE 144. This amendment was voted down and the new amendment took its place.

Some members of the faculty were concerned that singling out the PE 144 credit for the reduction was unfairly targeting a department at the university, hence why it was struck down.

Many faculty members were for the reduction, saying that many programs had students who were missing just the two credits from the class. These credits were preventing them from graduating on time.

Provost Carl Lovitt said that the reduction of the number of required credits would bring Central Connecticut State University’s number of credits more in line with what other universities are doing across the nation.

But other senators did not agree.

“I don’t accept that. That’s one of the problems with our country… That we are not educating properly,” said Edward Sarisley, a construction management professor who is part of the senate. Sarisley said that when he went to school for engineering, he was required to complete 140 plus credits and was expected to do it in four years. Sarisley said that instead of lowering the minimum number of credits required to graduate, the university should raise it.

The establishment of 122 credits as the institutional standard stems from a series of proposals in the early 1970s, which established the required number of credits to 120 credits plus any physical education requirement, which then upped the total to 122 credits.

Stephen Adair, who is the Chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee to the Board of Regents, gave his report, updating the senate on some discussion the committee has had with Board of Regents President Gregory Gray. The Board of Regents (BOR) president has proposed a number of consultant positions for improving various functions in the Connecticut State University (CSU) system. Not all of the consultants have experience in higher education.

These consultants will look at unnecessary duplication and the benchmarking of future needs in industries that students will be entering, according to Adair. While unnecessary duplication’s meaning is somewhat unclear, Adair said, he believes it refers to academic programs.

Mary Ann Mahony, AAUP (union) president did not believe that these consultants could do anything except be in an advisory position for issues relating to academic and curricular changes.

“They have no legal standing to do anything, having to do with curriculum without passing it through the curricular bodies,” said Mahony.

Adair said that eliminating duplication could mean merging to programs that have low enrollment.

Faculty Senate President Stephen Cohen announced that the official calendar for the CSU system was passing through the BOR approval process. He said that most of the faculty concerns were addressed, including a reading day that was not the day before exams, and a few other issues. The one issue that was not addressed, said Cohen, was spring break falling on the same week as the Easter holiday. This was not addressed because it was not something that would occur in following years.

This was an issue brought by faculty in a previous meeting due to the fact that the Easter holiday corresponding with spring break could lower enrollment for course abroad programs during that time period.

Twenty five out of 33 applicants were accepted for AAUP sabbaticals. Seventy sabbatical leaves were awarded for the four major universities.