CAA makes changes to graduation requirements


Rob Le Cates

Chair of Biological Sciences Gary Bulla, addresses the council about an exit assessment in the department.

Luke Taylor, News Editor

The Council of Academic Affairs made changes to graduation requirements in the psychology and clinical lab sciences majors.

The clinical lab sciences revision was requested by Gary Bulla, the chair of the biological sciences department, because Eastern’s Electronic Writing Portfolio requirements are difficult to complete for most students in that major.

The final year of the clinical lab sciences major is completed off-campus at an affiliate clinical hospital.

Additionally, students pursuing that major often transfer to Eastern after completing their first two years’ requirements at another institution. This means that most of these students are only taking classes at Eastern for one year, so it’s difficult to find three essays matching the EWP requirements over only two semesters.

Bulla said that the department found that an average student in that major would only get two assignments that fit the requirements rather than the usual three. This is why they proposed that the requirement be reduced to match that.

Rick Wilkinson, chairperson of CAA, said his concern was that the change would set a precedent for other majors to reduce their requirements. At the same time, he pointed out that the university reduced EWP requirements in all courses from four essays to three essays at one point.

Billy Hung, a council member and associate professor in the biology department, said his concern was with how a change would affect academic review of those students.

“I mean, the number of students fall into this category is pretty low, but I think the overall purpose of our EWP is to enable us to assess their writing ability and I think that’s part of our, you know, accreditation process as well,” Hung said.

Amy Rosenstein, a council member and special education professor, said that the point of the EWP is to see students’ progress in writing over their time at Eastern.

“We’re talking about a group of students who are here for a year and so they’re not necessarily going to even be showing, there’d be no opportunity for them to show that growth over time,” Rosenstein said. “To me, it doesn’t really make sense for them to have to do three when you’re not going to get those early submissions to see that change.”

After the discussion, the council voted unanimously in favor of approving the change.

The second action item of the day, also unanimously agreed upon, was approval of a new course, CSM 3700: Teaching Computer Science.

Jeff Stowell, chair of the psychology department, spoke on the third action item to explain the department’s rationale for changing their exit requirements.

He said that there was no minimum grade required to pass the exit exam.

“There’s not a strong incentive for students to do well on it, although if they scored the top 10% I sent them a letter and said, ‘Nic

e job, and put on the resume,’” Stowell said.

Stowell also said that with the different types of psychology taught in the department, it was difficult to assess everyone’s progress with one exam.

The council unanimously approved the change.

Luke Taylor can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].