Credit reform at SMU

By Cassidy Choi

With a 128 to 136 credit range to graduate, many students may feel overwhelmed and overloaded while trying to stay on track for graduation.  When students are spread too thin and are required to take classes that may not be of interest to them, there is the ultimate question of how much knowledge students are actually retaining throughout their college education. 

The faculty has been toying with the idea of restructuring the entire academic catalog, making most classes four credits, while also revamping the general education requirements.  The goal of the credit revamp would be to ensure that students have fewer classes, with longer class periods so professors can delve deeper into the concepts and topics of the course. 

Dr. Ian Werrett, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, hopes that if the faculty can come to a conclusive decision, the credit system can provide something more for students. 

“We want to breathe life into the program, give it soul and create a dynamic experience,” explains Werrett.

However, reorganizing the academic catalog is a complicated process, and this change could affect enrollment, financial aid and registration processes.  While also taking professional schools like engineering into consideration, there is a problem with consistency that could occur with altering credit hours.  The restructure would first have to begin with updating the general education requirements before moving onto changing the weight of the credit hours. 

The general education requirements have been implemented for 22 years and are managed by the General Education Committee.  As laid out in the academic catalog, most of these general education classes are three credit courses. 

Dr. Sheila Steiner, Director of the General Education Program, explains that there are logistical issues with scheduling that need to be sorted out before this plan can get put into action. 

Not only is the issue of course content relevant to the credit changes, but changing the credit system could also alleviate the stresses of graduating within four years.  Sometimes, tacking on an extra year is too much of a financial burden for students and they ultimately decide on overloading themselves in order to save money. 

“We want to provide a high quality education in a reasonable amount of time,” Steiner divulges. 

Even though manipulating the credit system requires a lot more planning and changes may not be implemented any time soon, students should be aware that Saint Martin’s is undergoing important changes.  

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