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Group endorses classes reform

Meghan Price | Thursday, February 18, 2010

 Joseph Incandela, associate dean and professor of Religious Studies at Saint Mary’s, addressed the Student Government Association (SGA) Wednesday about future plans for reforming the College’s General Education requirements.

He requested the SGA board endorse the plan, which has already been supported by the Faculty Assembly, to raise student awareness about the reform.
Incandela said the College wanted to change the requirement program for General Education classes that has been in place for over 40 years. Several previous attempts had been made to reform the program, but this proposal, which was developed over three and a half years, is the closest to being achieved. 
“When you think about how much has changed over the last 40 years — culturally, technologically and socially — it is about time this changes.” Jenny Hoffman, student body president, said.
Incandela said the new General Education curriculum changes will adjust the requirements to benefit students. The program will include 15 classes to enrich students’ all-around education at the College. Students will have more freedom to choose which classes suit their interests in the fields they would like pursue.
“I have felt that my General Education classes were random,” Megan Griffin, student body vice president said. “I was stuck in classes that I didn’t even want to take. I think this will provide a connection between the required classes and give them more meaning for the students. It can only make Saint Mary’s stronger.”
The program would require a critical thinking course for all first-year students, Incandela said. Each student’s seminar would be taught by their academic advisor in order to create a relationship for better counseling. The course would combine lecture with discussion with peer counselors and experiential participation, he said, providing a common experience for all incoming students.
This course and the rest of the courses in the program would connect students through common goals and values including the ideas of diversity and Women’s Voice, he said.
Incandela said if this idea kept moving forward the administration would be looking for help from students through venues like focus groups.
Students may have the option to write brochures and Web site pages for the program, and can participate in peer counseling and other leadership opportunities.
The SGA board voted to endorse the reform. 
Incandela said he hopes to see the new General education program set into place by Fall 2011.