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November 21, 2013

Credit conversion moves into next phase

By Jordan Gonzalez

While the University Curriculum Committee works on approving the remaining degree programs for the 4-3 credit conversion, Provost Deirdre Mageean said the focus is now the preparation of the transition guides for the new programs.

A specially-formed “transition guide team” is ready to begin approving the incoming transition guides, which will be created by the individual departments for the department advisers to guide the students on how to plan their schedules.

The details of how transitional students will be assisted are being figured out with the transitional guide team, said member and UCC chairman Bill Kosteas. The team is coming up with basic guidelines, rules and standards to judge the incoming transition guides from the departments to ensure students don’t repeat requirements.

“Our emphasis is ensuring that all transitional students will get accurate and timely advice,” Mageean said of the upcoming guides. “Transitional students are all those who began at CSU under the old curriculum and who will complete their degree under the new curriculum.”

Such guides are crucial, Mageean said, because they will help these transitional students figure out if they want to take the old plan or the new plan, which is highly encouraged by Cleveland State officials.

Some potential problems might occur in the upcoming spring 2014 semester for transfer students, according to Mageean and Kosteas. It could be difficult to figure out which classes they should take since they will be coming into Cleveland State before the new plan is implemented.

Regardless of what decision is finally made for these transfer students, Mageean said Cleveland State has a policy of ensuring students are held “harmless” during this transition.

For transitional students who want to follow the old path to graduation, advisors will do their best to assist them.

“We’re trying to build in some flexibility, too,” Mageean said. “[Cleveland State] may be allowing waivers for a number of credits for elective requirements for transitional students.”

Freshmen students will more than likely face no problems, since either many general education requirements have already been three-credit classes or will easily transfer into the new three-credit system come the fall 2014 semester.

Communication will be key, said Mageean, to alert students of the options. She said they must meet with their department’s advisers. While it’s not required to sign up for classes, it will guarantee they will be protected during the transition process.

“Our commitment to hold current students harmless is really contingent on that meeting on the consultation with an adviser,” Mageean said. “So that’s critical.”

Kosteas said Cleveland State will do what they can to assist students with the old model, but they promote the new model.

“We will encourage students to switch to the new requirements when it makes sense for them,” Kosteas said. “My guess is that for many programs, the majority of students will find it beneficial to switch to the new requirements.”

The majority of degree programs have been submitted to the UCC, said Kosteas, but now they need to be approved by the UCC. Many will be officially approved during the next Faculty Senate meeting on Nov. 20.

Once again he noted how many of the current struggles and challenges could have been alleviated if there was simply more time to work on the conversion and then transition process.

For example, the attention given to the revised programs could have been more. But since it is so rushed, the sheer volume of content that needs to be worked on doesn’t allow for the desired time to work on properly creating the programs.

Kosteas anticipates many programs will have to be revamped a second time in the future due to the rushed nature of the current work. However, he said that is often an inevitable fact.

“The reality is even if we had been given more time, I think you would still see [programs being fixed after the transition is done],” Kosteas said. “But I think unfortunately we’re going to see a lot more as far as second-round revisions are concerned. “