Curriculum Still Dominates Discussion

by Peter Kaspari

As a furious thunderstorm rolled through Indianola last Tuesday, Sept. 21, intense conversation ensued inside the doors of Camp Lounge as faculty met to finalize the curriculum changes.

Last Tuesday, the faculty approved a number of new and updated policies that are a direct result of the new curriculum, which will be implemented next fall.

However, due to debate among the faculty, not all of the policies mentioned on the agenda were approved or even had time to be discussed.

One policy change that caused debate dealt with course credits. Currently, the majority of Simpson courses are three credits, but under the new curriculum courses will be four credits. Another policy proposed that courses would carry one, two or four credits unless approved by the Educational and Policy and Curriculum Committee (EPCC), which was passed with 58 percent of the faculty in support.

Another amendment that caused debate dealt with graduation requirements. The proposed change stated that to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree one would need 128 credits, which includes two four-credit May terms, along with at least a 2.0 grade-point average. Students enrolled in the music program would need to take 132 credits.

The main issue the faculty had with that particular proposal was in regards to the Evening, Weekend and Graduate Program. Several members of the faculty questioned how students enrolled in that program would be able to complete two May terms since EWG students are currently considered part-time and are not required to take May term courses. Regardless, 84 percent of the faculty voted to support the change.

“The courses we’re talking about are not the courses we’re teaching now,” Patricia Calkins, professor of German and chair of the department of world languages and culture studies, said. “The whole point of moving to four credits is so we can demand more of our students.”

Sophomore Dustin McNulty doesn’t understand the point of changing the May term policy.

“I don’t really understand the point of May term if you’re only going to be taking two,” McNulty said. “But as long as there’s no change in the cost, I might as well take a class.”

The final proposal dealt with courses with the designations “Honors/Pass/No Pass.” Under the current curriculum, students can choose the course designation. Next fall, instructors will choose whether to designate a course “H/P/NP” instead of the students. The new proposal that was passed with a 62 percent faculty approval designates “no pass” as solely receiving an “F.”

Sophomore Jacob Kirby feels that many of Simpson’s students are unaware of the changes being implemented.

“That information needs to be given to us,” Kirby said. “It needs to be very public, even if it’s not in the final stages. This way everybody will know what will happen.”