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Nov. 8, 2012

University considers credit hour change-up

Switching 4 to 3 hours becomes future possibility

By Dan Stanton

Major changes are being discussed for the way Cleveland State offers classes to its students. Currently, there are discussions about converting all general education courses, with some exceptions, from four credit hours to three, and there is a tentative timetable to convert all courses to three credit hours by 2016.

In 1998, Cleveland State  changed from quarter-based, four credit hour class scheduling to the current semester system. But the four credit hour classes didn’t change, causing some difficulties for transfer students and making some students pay for more credit hours than are required.

To fix this, the university’s Undergraduate Student Success Committee recommended making all general education courses three credit hours, according to Joanne Goodell, the Faculty Senate president, and Bill Kosteas, the chair of the University Curriculum Committee. There will be some exceptions, for example, foreign language classes.

Such a change may help students who need six credit hours of general education in an area of study. Currently, with so many four credit hour courses offered, a student may find him or herself faced with taking two four-credit classes in order to fulfill the six credit requirement, and paying for those extra two credits.

However, a change to three credit hour classes may require faculty to teach an extra class each semester.

Faculty are already scheduling classes by the year, when in the past they scheduled classes by the semester. This yearly scheduling is new, and it allows students to register for classes at least a semester in advance.

“It’s a major cultural change for the university,” Ronald Berkman, Cleveland State president,  said of the yearly scheduling.

“We want to make it more seamless and easier for students to get through [their general education requirements].”

Berkman added that the yearly scheduling was enacted to ease the transition to the three credit hour system.

Currently, there is “nothing formally written,” Goodell said of the transition.
Right now, the Univeristy Curriculum Committee is studying the feasibility of the change and whether it will make sense for students, Kosteas said. But for now, “it’s too early to say how it will affect students.”

How it will affect students is also a concern of Jeff Karem, professor of English and the president of the faculty union (CSU-AAUP).

“I’m concerned that student voices have not been heard,” Karem said about the possible changes.

Cleveland State faculty will discuss the matter at the CSU-AAUP today at noon in the Main Classroom, room 102.