Future of academics requires student feedback

Welcome back from your summer vacation. Whether you spent the last three months relaxing, working or taking classes at a cheaper college closer to home, I hope all of you treasured the last three months. Because back on campus, the University released a report addressing a number of significant academic changes, foremost among them, the affects of going to a year-round academic calendar which would include a mandatory summer session for rising juniors.

The Hatchet editorial board has not come to a conclusion on the change and it is not the purpose of this column to promote or criticize the system. Rather, it is to convey the importance of your feedback on the subject, and that input from current students will help dictate the future of GW academics. It’s time for students to use their voices and participate in the discussion of the report.

Current students can take a sigh of relief because next year’s incoming freshmen will probably be the first class forced to stay one summer. But returning students need to give feedback to administrators regarding the changes addressed in the report for the sake of future students. Significant effects on student life have yet to be addressed. Administrators say they are still considering the proposal and are requesting feedback, but given a severe institutional financial crunch and the backing of University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, including a recent Washington Post editorial promoting the system, it is looking more likely that future students will be required to spend at least one of their summers in GW classrooms.

The report also analyzes the effects of switching to a 4×4 course system which would have students enrolling in four, four-credit courses each semester instead of the current five-course, three-credit system.

It is our duty as students to be aware of the significant issues impacting our University, and I can think of no issue more important than a new course structure and addition of a mandatory summer session. This is our University, one we pay tens of thousands of dollars to and one we will forever carry a diploma from. We pay a significant price for our education but also receive an important voice in its decision-making process. Let’s participate in one of the most important decisions this University has faced in years. It is not only our duty to ourselves but our obligation to future students to take an interest in the matter.

This is a time when the Student Association can rise to the occasion and play an important role in organizing and advocating for its constituents, using its resources to convey student opinions to the administration. The Hatchet will be trying to do its part by informing the student body. We plan on running a semester-long series on the effects a mandatory summer and new course structure would have on all aspects of the University from academics to student life issues to finances. We will also be looking at how the alternative systems work on other campuses, so keep reading to stay informed.

But there is only so much The Hatchet can write about or the SA can pass legislation about, without receiving significant feedback from the student body. Last year’s protest against the tuition increase by FOUR students on Kogan Plaza was one of the saddest examples of GW student complacency I have seen during my time here.

I suggest you to take the time to read

the report at: http://www.gwu.edu/~newsctr/alternative_calendar/home.html and e-mail altcal@gwu.edu with suggestions or comments about the report.

University administrators said they are open to feedback until a November 1 deadline giving interested parties fewer than 10 weeks to make their voices heard.

Read and write letters to The Hatchet and participate in forums organized by the University and the Student Association. If you don’t care about anything else this semester, care about this. Yes, I know the elimination of Ben and Jerry’s from the ground floor of the Marvin Center is devastating to some, but lets look at the bigger picture. The lack of a Ben and Jerry’s will be a lot worse for the students attending the mandatory summer session a few years from now.

-The writer, a senior majoring in political communication, is Hatchet editor in chief

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