General studies becomes flexible

Chase Robinson

Gone are the days of mandatory biology credit requisites at Troy University.
A new general studies program has been introduced in the 2015-16 academic catalog that provides students with more choice and flexibility.
The new program moves away from requiring students to take specific classes, instead focusing on specific discipline areas.
“A good general studies program is laying the foundation for, really, the rest of your life’s learning,” said Hal Fulmer, associate provost and dean of undergraduate and first year studies.
Fulmer said the program was changed to be more flexible and more in line with guidelines established by the Statewide Transfer and Articulation Reporting System, and the Alabama Articulation and General Studies Committee.
Fulmer said that the program will allow the acceptance of transfer credits from a wider variety of classes from other institutions.
“We wanted to have something that would be a little easier for transfer students,” he said. “We wanted to be much closer to the STARS guide.”
According to Fulmer, this general studies program will create 15-30 hours of choice.
“Students who are brand new this fall will get the benefit,” Fulmer said.
The program still requires 59-64 hours of general studies courses in five areas. The first four areas constitute about 42 hours, and STARS specifies about half of those, according to Fulmer.
The general studies program detailed in the 2014-15 academic catalog specifies about 52 classes that can be used for various general studies requirements.
The new general studies program specifies only six classes, thus allowing 1000-2000 level courses to meet requirements in a variety of disciplines.
“Imagine a student who says they’re thinking about criminal justice as a major and they’re going to take intro to criminal justice,” Fulmer said. “If they love it and want to major in it, what they have to do is replace that class with another social science class for general studies. The same is true if they want to minor in it.
“If they don’t like it but they completed the course, they get general studies credit. They haven’t wasted their money.”
Departments may still have specialized general studies requirements, according to Fulmer.
Alexander Brassington, a sophomore physics major from Georgetown, Guyana, said that although he thinks that a well-rounded education is essential, some people did not benefit from a lot of the general education classes.
“It’s nice to have more freedom, flexibility to study what you want,” he said. “I have not finished my general studies yet, so yes, I think it benefits sophomores like me.”
“It would affect undeclared majors a little bit because if you wanted to do a biology related field, then you won’t be pushed towards doing that,” he said.
“But on the other hand, if there is a class you want to take or are interested in, you have spare credit hours to take it now. You have that freedom of exploring your choices.”
Camri Martin-Bowen, a sophomore nursing major from Wetumpka, also agrees that there are advantages to the new changes.
“For people who have already decided their majors, it benefits them because they can pick and choose what they want that is interesting to them instead of just taking class they already know,” she said. “And they don’t have to spend extra money just to meet the requirements of the university.”

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