In February 2014, the Board of Trustees for Fort Lewis College voted unanimously to return the College to a three-credit curriculum model. Here is information about the change and what it means for current and future Fort Lewis College students.
- When does the change go into effect?
The return to a three-credit curriculum model goes into effect for the fall 2016 semester.
- How does the change affect students graduating before fall 2016?
The return to a three-credit model should have little or no impact on students graduating before the changes go into effect in fall 2016. These students can continue to adhere to the course catalogs and schedules they already follow.
- How does this change affect students currently enrolled at Fort Lewis College who plan to graduate after fall 2016?
There should not be a major impact in terms of progress toward graduation for currently enrolled students who will graduate after fall 2016. Students enrolled now with a major declared can continue to follow the course catalogs and schedules in place when they declared their major. After fall 2016, advisors will work with these students to ensure that their graduation plans are not adversely affected.
- How does the change affect future Fort Lewis College students or current students who haven’t yet declared a major?
Whenever a student declares a major, the course catalog and schedule in effect at that time is what the student is expected to complete.
- How many courses will be affected by the return to a three-credit curriculum model?
Over the last 30 years, the curriculum at Fort Lewis College shifted from three-credit courses to a mix of three- and four-credit courses. Most stand-alone courses (meaning there is no lab attached) that are currently four-credit will return to three-credits beginning in fall 2016. This mostly applies to non-science courses as the majority of science courses remained within the three-credit model.
There are some courses that may remain four-credit as that best serves their curriculum. These courses will be analyzed and identified prior to the fall 2016 change date.
- How does the return to a three-credit curriculum benefit Fort Lewis College students?
- Closer Alignment with Colorado Higher Education
All other Colorado public colleges and universities operate on a three-credit model. Fort Lewis College’s return to a three-credit model will bring the College more in line with what is happening across the rest of the state. This benefits students by making transfer between Colorado institutions more efficient.
FLC’s return to a three-credit model is supported by the Colorado Department of Higher Education.
- More Efficient Transfer Between Colorado Colleges and Universities
Colorado’s public colleges and universities operate on a three-credit curriculum model, while FLC has operated on a three- and four-credit mixed model. The difference has led to difficulty for students wishing to transfer between Fort Lewis College and other state schools. By aligning FLC’s curriculum model more closely with other schools, much of the transfer difficulty should be eliminated.
Beyond Colorado schools alone, the majority of Fort Lewis College’s peer and COPLAC peer institutions operate on either a three- or four-credit model.
- More Efficient Student Scheduling
With a three- and four-credit mixed curriculum model, three-credit classes and four-credit classes have different class time lengths. This caused difficulty for students trying to schedule both three- and four-credit classes during their day.
Under a three-credit model, classes would have the same class time lengths. This uniformity should make class scheduling much easier, even allowing students to block schedule (scheduling classes all in the morning or all on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, for example).
- Better Preparation for Reaccreditation
In 2015, Fort Lewis College is up for reaccreditation with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLC will be examining every aspect of the education that the College offers to ensure it provides students with the best chance to succeed.
Many of the courses that shifted from three-credits to four over the years did so without explanations of how the change would benefit students. As the College works through the reaccreditation process, those explanations would be needed to justify past changes to HLC.
Furthermore, no evidence has been cited showing that a three- and four-credit mixed curriculum model is better for students than the three-credit model under which the rest of Colorado’s public colleges and universities operate.