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Southeast changes general education requirements
Nine credit hours of upper-level university studies classes in general education will no longer be required starting in fall 2017 for incoming students at Southeast Missouri State University.
The change will not be automatic for current students, however, students can change their catalog year to receive the change. Provost Karl Kunkel said the change is to help students graduate faster and save money.
"It's very important that students see the finish line closer, so to speak, and more accessible," Kunkel said.
A student's catalog year is the year in which they began studying at Southeast. The bulletin in place during a student's catalog year is the degree program and requirements they follow.
Kunkel suggests students speak with their adviser before they make the change.
"Talk to your adviser," Kunkel said. "Go through your Degree Works, look at the requirements. Your adviser can help you individually whether it's in your advantage to opt out or stay in."
To change a catalog year, students can fill out a form at the Registrar's Office, send an email from a university email address or go online and fill out a form.
Students will still need 39 credit hours of upper-level classes even with the nine hours cut from general education.
"I think it's a great move for our students," Kunkel said. "It helps them be successful."
The minimum hours required in a degree program is 120. This elimination of nine hours will help bring a number of degree programs closer to 120 hours.
"In many cases, these nine hours were extending degree programs well beyond 120," Kunkel said.
Director of the University Studies Council Wayne Bowen said the council started the review of the classes last summer, and while in review the state passed the SB997 Senate bill. The bill created a transfer matrix that was created so classes would transfer easier.
"Students have more options," Bowen said. "They are going to not lose credits when they transfer from one school to another."
The bill also stated general education programs in Missouri have to be 42 credit hours of lower-level courses. Southeast's general education program is currently 51 hours and with the elimination of the nine upper-level hours, it will be 42 hours. Kunkel said there are two main reasons the university is making this change.
"The primary reason was trying to help students with the time and cost of a degree and the second one was making sure what we are doing is in line with what the rest of the state is doing," Kunkel said.
Bowen believes many of the upper-level university studies classes will still be taught even without the requirement.
“I think a lot of those upper-level UIs will continue because of student interest or part of degree programs,” Bowen said.
This change was talked about by the University Studies Council then the Academic Council, and following that the changes were sent to the state to be approved, according to Bowen.