– November 16th, 2012 by Abigail DelVecchio –
Registrar's Office

New curriculum changes aim to lighten student workload

Colby-Sawyer is making strides towards incorporating more effective curriculum changes in the near future. In fact, some of these changes will be instilled for next year’s incoming class of 2013, with the majority being in place for incoming students of 2014. These changes are not coming in haste, as the process has been over a yearlong evaluation of the college’s academic principles and requirements. The current liberal education program has remained the same for the past decade, deeming it necessary for a much needed change.

Academic Vice President, Dean of Faculty, and Professor of Social Sciences and Education Dr. Deborah Taylor is working with, among several others, Academic Dean Burton Kirkwood on these alterations. Taylor states, “All of our departments have been re-examining our majors and minors to move to the 4-credit model, in which a standard student load will be four 4-credit courses rather than the current load of five 3-credit courses. This will provide additional time for depth of study in a smaller number of different courses. In this review, we are also working to reduce our overall number of required courses to provide students with more flexibility to study abroad, take elective courses or minors, etc.” This seems like a vast improvement from the heavier course load a majority of majors are handling presently.

Various majors have already integrated this new curriculum, including Business Administration, History and Political Studies, and Athletic Training. Senior Athletic Training major Ashley Cail describes the immense amount of courses required for her major and how, “the time commitment and work load should dictate they were four credits to begin with. This way we can fit them all in without going over the max credits allowed before the school charges extra per credit.”

One of the major, and probably most drastic changes, would be the direct admittance into the nursing programs for those who demonstrate exceptional academic abilities. Sophomore Molly Chesterton is on the nursing track currently, and she explains, “I think it’s not fair. I have worked so hard to get where I am today. They should have to take the same classes as everyone else and go through the same process.”

Senior Nursing major Matthew Lambert shared a similar viewpoint, “Those first two years are the time when people find out they don’t want to actually be nurses can discover that. Someone might be extremely highly qualified but not enjoy clinical or some aspects of the nursing program. I think it’s a good idea in theory, but I actually enjoy the way Colby-Sawyer does things. I had time to figure out if nursing was right for me.”

Whatever the opinion on the matter, the depth of these changes should not be overlooked. Colby-Sawyer is making drastic efforts to better the experience for their students and incorporate a more global approach to education that many universities across the country have already implemented. Taylor explains, “We also are working toward the development of some selected on-line programs and are in a search for a Dean of Distance Education to lead those efforts. This is quite a lot of work in the curriculum, and it is proceeding well thanks to the hard and careful work of our faculty.”

Hopefully, these changes will open more doors to nursing majors specifically, who up until this point have been closed off to many opportunities other majors provide, specifically including studying abroad and selecting minors.



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