Faculty ponder credit reduction

Northern Kentucky University’s Faculty Senate met March 24 and discussed a proposal to change the minimum required credit hours to graduate from 128 hours to 120 hours.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Gail Wells said with most classes being three credit hours, and the average full time students scheduling 15 hours a semester, at the end of eight semesters only 120 credit hours would be accumulated. Which means, in order to graduate in four years, a student would have to take more than 15 hours a semester, or enroll in summer or winter courses.

“There is no intent to undermine the academic quality of the university,” Wells said. “The question is whether 15 credit hours (a semester) are sufficient for graduation.”

Ron Shaw, committee chair for the University Curriculum Committee said while there are some majors that need 135 hours to graduate, most are under the requirement of 128 hours with electives, major and minor hours.

Wells points out that the university is losing students because they don’t want to pay for an additional eight credit hours when they can graduate with 120 elsewhere.

University President James Votruba addressed the fact that no one knows about higher education better than those who teach it, and pointed out while professors may think that there is a point when a line should be drawn so that learning can continue throughout life.

“I’m not reluctant at all to push back on the council or other publics who believe they understand our work. I think it makes it incumbent on us to take a good in-depth look at what it should take to graduate from here in terms of general education,” Votruba said. “I think it’s time for us to take a look at general education in this broader framework. The university should revisit the question, what is most important for every one of our students to know before they leave here?”

Wells said the deans of each college have already unanimously approved the decision, but faculty still has to review the proposal.