Concordia proposes 4-4-1 calendar change

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From left: Dan Remes, Alex Gray, and Alyssa Coop listen to a presentation during the campus conversation on Oct. 29. Photo by Maddie Malat.

The Campus Conversation meeting on Oct. 29 shows Concordia favors the idea of changing the calendar to a “4-4-1,” as well as integrating more hands-on experiences in classrooms.

Dr. Darin Ulness, a chemistry professor and Director of Division of Sciences and Mathematics, spoke at the meeting. This past summer, Ulness was a part of a work group that focused “to develop a proposal that’s not only consistent with the nature of Concordia, but, in fact, puts a sharp point on the ‘Concordia difference.’”

The committee consisted of faculty––Peter Haberman, Heather Gruber, Greg Cant, George Connell, Don Rice, Jack Rycell, Doug Anderson, Cindy Carver, Eric Eliason, Darin Ulness and senior student representative Zach Lipp

At the end of the summer, the group presented an Integrative Learning Model. Their proposal claims the model will show how integrated learning and hands-on experience will enhance the learning experience of Concordia students and engage them not only in their classes, but in the real world beyond.

“What we’re looking for is ways to better enhance the Concordia education so you get what you’re paying for,” Ulness said.

According to Ulness’s presentation, the calendar change would increase integration. Students could step out of their classroom and immerse themselves into the subject they’re studying and become engaged in complex situations. These issues would challenge students to use prior knowledge, different perspectives and out-of-classroom skills.

At the meeting, Lipp said that depending on what the committees find and how the rest of the process goes, the goal is to implement the changes in two years.

“This is not designed to be another box you check off on Degree Works,” Lipp said.

But how does this model make the life for Concordia students different? For starters, the calendar will be 4-4-1 – the same format as now except it will incorporate the May semester as part of the spring semester.

With the additional month, students may be required to participate in the May semester twice during their academic career at Concordia.

“The idea of 4-4-1 will provide room in the calendar to do high intensive experiences,” Ulness said.

By extending the spring semester a month, financial aid can be applied to that course, including studying abroad. This means they will not have to pay $3,720 of tuition for a four credit course.

For students to be able to receive this benefit, they will have to “flex” their credits spring semester. Flexing credits means that in the spring semester, a student would take 12-13 credits, and then take four credits in the May semester.

The additional month will also cause tuition to rise. The committees have not finalized the exact figures, but they believe the raise will not be drastic.

In addition to the extra month added to the calendar, the fall break will be extended to a full week.

“With a longer fall break, it allows students to do more opportunities; meaningful opportunities,” Ulness said.

The committee would also like to include two more days like Symposium or Celebration of Student Scholarship in the schedule. One day would focus on career and vocation – what it is and how to achieve it. The other day would be a department day, allowing each of the academic departments to plan their own respective activities.

According to Ulness, everything is still in the research stage. Different committees are focusing on specific aspects of the Integrative Learning Model and presenting their findings to the Faculty Senate, in which the Senate either approves or disapproves their research and has them continue their research.

Sage Larson

Sage is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian. She is a senior majoring in Multimedia Journalism and Spanish and minoring in Communication Studies.

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