Saturday, August 8, 2020

New class schedules coming next school year

September 27, 2017
Hannah Administration Building on Aug. 29, 2015. Courtney Kendler/The State News
Hannah Administration Building on Aug. 29, 2015. Courtney Kendler/The State News —

If you thought you could go your entire college career without taking a class on Friday, your plan could be altered by MSU’s newest outgrowth to the "Go Green, Go 15" plan.

Lyman Briggs Interim Dean Mark Largent said those time consuming, 400-something person lectures offered in either Monday, Wednesday or Tuesday, Thursday packages are making a shift to shorter and more frequent classes.

The "Go Green, Go 15" plan was announced at the Board of Trustees meeting on June 21. The main focus is to encourage students to take 15 credits per semester so they can graduate in four years.

According to the analyses, "Students who attempted 15 or more credits in their first fall semester or completed 30 credits during their first year recorded six-year graduation rates of nearly 88 percent."

That number is 10 percent higher than MSU’s current 6-year graduation rate.

“The broader Go 15 effort revealed to us that there’s something that everybody can do to help improve student success,” Largent said. “So, we are looking in every nook and cranny for any options that might help students be more successful.”

Largent said the university worried it was doing harm to students by not urging them to take heavier class loads. 

“In the spring, we began working with our advisors to identify the problems, to identify the culture on campus that might be leading students to decide to take fewer credits,” he said.

Advisors told the university that they could encourage students to “Go 15” and try to enroll more students in classes, but it was not physically possible. 

The classes were scheduled right on top of each other.

“It turns out that a huge number of our courses are between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday,” Largent said. “Such a huge percentage that it’s really hard especially for first and second year students to get into the classes that they need. So we realized that that was a shortcoming on our part as a university – that we weren’t serving are students as well as we could.”

The solution to these overlapping course schedules, is to take some of those large general education classes and break them into shorter class periods on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule.

“We’re not using Friday very well at all,” he said. “In fact, when you look on campus there’s a very small percentage of classes that are taught on Fridays.”

Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education Dr. R. Sekhar Chivukula said the way schedules are set up right now prevents students from being able to fill up to the 15 credit goal.

"That’s the limited resource here," Chivukula said. "Students need to be able to use their schedules efficiently so that they can make progress toward a degree and get out in four years or as quickly as they can."

This change will not affect every three or four credit class offered, but the main goal is to offer varying classes meeting on varying days to help students take more classes per semester.

The schedule is set for the year, Chivukula said, but MSU is looking to pilot the new schedule next academic school year.

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