Competency requirements change for incoming freshmen in 2014

General education requirements that have been in place at Central Michigan University for years are undergoing substantial changes.

Rather than the current requirement of the completion of four competency courses including Freshman Composition, Advanced Composition, Oral English and Mathematics, students enrolled at CMU beginning in 2014 will have to fulfill expanded competency requirements in the areas of Quantitative Reasoning and Writing Intensive. Students will be required to earn three credit hours in Quantitative Reasoning and 12 credit hours in Writing Intensive — six from University Programs and six from classes within their majors or minors.

Pre-existing courses in each major offered, as well as six current University Program courses, are being reworked to earn the designation as either Quantitative Analysis or Writing Intensive. Courses in some departments have already been approved.

Director of General Education George Ronan said completing the competencies will actually be more convenient for students with the new system.

“The Writing Intensive and Quantitative Reasoning courses can be completed at any time during a student’s career,” he said. “Courses will be mixed in with each student’s majors and minors so taking the classes will be beneficial and will have had to be taken anyways.”

The goals is for students to be able to complete the new requirements without adding any courses to their workloads, Ronan said.

“There has been an incredible sensitivity to make sure we don’t increase student credit hours," Ronan said. "That’s the last thing I want to see. Students don’t need to pick up any more work than they already have."

Brittany Snively, a transfer student from South Lyon, welcomed the change.

“I can definitely see how (it) would be a lot more convenient," Snively said. "Most people that take the classes offered as University Programs take them just for that and have no interest in them. If there was an option to take classes people were interested in, I’m sure they would do better."

Negaunee freshman Emma Collins disagrees with the changes and said the system is better off the way it is now.

“The way we have things now helps give us a more well-rounded education,” Collins said. “Sure, it’d be nice to have fewer competencies, but I believe we get more out of it because we get to pick from a wider array of classes, and if you plan it correctly, a lot of the classes count for your major anyway.”

Snively spoke from personal experience and said fulfilling University Program requirements sometimes throws off the schedules of students.

“Since I’m taking classes that have labs, I couldn’t fit any Spanish classes in. Spanish is my minor, but since I’m finishing all my University Program requirements, I’m missing some more important classes,” she said. “It’d be way more convenient to take classes that relate to both my major and my other requirements.”

Competencies aren't the only thing undergoing changes. Ronan said future students can expect to see University Program requirement changes as well.

"We're in the process of submitting and reviewing proposals," he said. "There will be a re-vamp of all General Education requirements by the time we're done"


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