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Seat time requirements subject to change

Photo by Rachel Torgerson. The Higher Education Reauthorization Act is a federal law that impacts classroom hour and seat time requirements. Concordia is currently not meeting seat time requirements and changes will be made to correct this in the future.

It is 10:00 p.m. on a Monday, and a class of students files tiredly out of Bishop Whipple, completing their weekly class commitment. Though many leave the classroom sleepy, junior Elise Dukart does not mind the long stretch on a Monday night.

“Night classes are nice because they are only one night of the week,” she said. “The lateness doesn’t bother me. I think the time is better than a morning class.”

Though some students do not mind night classes, which have been around for years, the agenda for them, as well as May seminars, might change in the future because of the Higher Education Reauthorization Act.

The federal law change impacts classroom hour and seat time requirements. Concordia is legally required to reevaluate seat hours for classes like night classes because the campus is not currently meeting seat time requirements. This could mean enforcing attendance during finals periods, requiring students to show up to finals blocks even if they are not required to take an in-class final. Other options include longer night classes in the future.

“It is hard to predict where it will go in the future. Daytime classes will stay the same,” said Carol Pratt, chair member and associate professor of biology. “One concern is that night classes that do not have significant seat time are proposed to increase, but faculty senate voted that down.”

Alternative solutions proposed by the committee include demonstrating stricter learning requirements or providing co-ops to ensure learning requirements are being met. Other solutions include having night classes twice a week.

Other alternative programs where credit is earned are a little more ambiguous.

“It’s sort of trying to be one size fits all, and one size does not fit all… Faculty would need to document the out-of-class work time.” Pratt said. “My assumption is that Concordia is never going to get audited about these guidelines, but if we do, we need to be prepared.”

In general, though, big changes are being made and standards reexamined, not much will change for the average student. When commenting on homework, Provost Dr. Mark Krejci noted in an interview, “We already…give you plenty of homework as it is… We expect a lot out of you, and we want you to get the best education possible.”

The change in seat time, though it will affect students, is nothing to stress too much about.

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