In the midst of all the inevitable end-of-spring-term craziness, the thought of contemplating one more semester design vote doesn’t seem all that appealing. Arguable, the question of whether or not to include advising within our calculus of faculty load is the most complicated of the many decisions we’ve made this year. I don’t fault anyone one bit for feeling overwhelmed, or even a little crabby, about this last vote – no matter what you think we ought to do.
But in the midst of all this, I think it is worthwhile to step back a little and have a look at what we’re on the verge of accomplishing. You might not be in the mood for hyperbole at the moment, but the truth is that we are about to complete something that almost no other institution has done. We’ve actually designed an entire semester calendar and curriculum framework out in the open, step by step, modeling the implications of all the competing issues from the very beginning and then remodeling the implications of each decision on the larger picture at each step along the way. That isn’t to say that we’ve done everything perfectly – after all, we are no more than a bunch of imperfect yokels trying to pull off extraordinary, something that few schools have ever done in a way that most wouldn’t dare to try. Call me a Pollyanna, but after zooming out and having a look back at what we’ve accomplished this year, you’d be hard pressed not to be impressed.
What have we done since September? Here are the decisions faculty have made that set each of the major elements of the new semester design in place.
- Voted for an immersive term 140 to 26
- Voted for a 4-credit course base instead of a 3-credit course base 126 to 37
- Voted for the immersion term to occur in January instead of May 136 to 35
- Voted for 124 credits to graduate instead of 120 credits to graduate 92 to 71
- Approved the structure proposed for General Education 109 to 31
- Approved the second language requirement unanimously
- Approved a framework for major design and footprint unanimously
Other than the vote about the total number of credits to graduate, each vote seems to reflect a clear sense among the community about the direction that is best for us.
In addition, two faculty votes have provided advisory positions to the Board of Trustees, the body that makes the final decision on these two specific issues.
- Voted for a pre-Labor Day start to the academic year 67 to 59
- Voted that tuition should cover a relatively higher number of credits per year rather than a relatively smaller number of credits 98 to 62
All in all, the amount of intellectual and emotional work that we have successfully sorted through to accomplish all of these decisions is truly extraordinary. It’s hard to imagine anyone NOT feeling at least a little bit more tired than normal these days.
So even if you’re feeling like you are running on fumes these days, try to take a second, breathe deeply, and look at how much we have accomplished. I, for one, am truly amazed and humbled. It’s an honored to be able to call myself a member of the Augustana community.
Make it a good day,