Mixed reactions to 4-credit changes

By Jacob Jones 

Contributors: Elizabeth Condall, Jakob Galluzzo, Billy Sullivan, Lynn Berry, Deborah Hawkins, Julianna Moreland

Campus is buzzing with talk about the new four-credit classes, longer class times, and immersive learning activities being implemented this fall. A few weeks in the semester, some students say the new schedule has had a rough start, while others are enjoying the changes. 

This change adds additional time to classes, but means most students take fewer classes at a time.  While students typically had five or six classes under the old schedule, most now have three or four. 

“It’s just less to keep up with if you have four classes versus five classes even though the four classes are one credit more each,” says Jennifer Anderson, an academic student advisor. 

Some students find taking fewer classes helps them to focus their time.

“As of right now, I prefer the new model,” said junior Brinley Warren. “I can get more credits and take less classes…The classes are a little longer, which is a bit harder, but I think the professors are handling that very well.”

Christian Shelton, a senior who lives off campus, also prefers the new schedule, since he no longer drives to campus just to attend one short class. 

“I think it’s better,” said sophomore Christian Shelton, who lives off campus. “It makes my time worthwhile.” 

Another key reason behind the switch was providing more opportunities for immersive learning in the four-credit classes, including project-based learning and field trips. 

“I feel like this gives us ample time,” said Deb Procopio, adjunct instructor of communication. “We can do more group work, and people are able to ask more questions.”

But not all students think the benefits outweigh the costs. 

“I don’t love it,” said Caitlin Corll, a junior at WPU majoring in interactive design. “I think it overloads the student’s schedules and it makes certain classes longer than is needed for optimal learning.” 

Corll said nearly two hours for some classes is too much. In some cases, students have two long classes with only 10 minutes in between. 

“I know a lot of students that have their classes twice a week and longer classes, they have multiple days in their schedule where they have classes back to back to back to back,” said Corll. 

Other students haven’t decided yet which system they prefer.

“I think that it’s better since you can earn more credits in order to graduate, but it also means longer classes which I personally feel like that’s too long,” Kayla Lynch-Mcclain, a senior at WPU, said.

Among the buzz about the new schedule has been the sounds of rumbling empty stomachs.

“There’s just not enough time for students for lunch,” said senior business major Camryn Straughn, echoing a common concern. 

Dr. Corrine Andersen, head of the English department, said she is aware of the early struggles present for students with long classes and few breaks. 

 “They’re just having to adjust to how long of a time period that is,” said Andersen. 

Faculty have had to adjust as well, though Andersen said many are enjoying teaching three classes instead of four each semester. 

Jennifer Anderson, the advisor, said her team is relieved to see the changes in action after working hard over the summer to make needed adjustments to the schedule. 

“It’s been a challenge, but we’re working through there and I think the light is at the end of the tunnel,” she said.