University Changes Policy for Graduation
Monmouth University will be changing the 128-credit requirement for graduation to 120 credits effective fall semester of 2020.
Initially, this decision was made due to the State of New Jersey establishing new credit hour standards for both the award of baccalaureate degrees from four-year public institutions of higher education and for the award of associate degrees from county colleges.
A faculty meeting was held Wednesday, March 6 to discuss the revision and how it will take place for each department.
The University was notified this current academic year and the tag line for Monmouth has become “120 in 2020.” Laura Moriarty, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said, “We are reducing the number of credits required to remain competitive and to increase retention and graduation rates.”
Each academic school has been tasked with diving into the requirements of their department and making suggestions to where the eight credits can and will be eliminated. This decision will be made primarily by the deans and chairs collectively. The amendment will be brought about to the Provost and Board of Trustees for the final approval.
“Some schools have less credit requirements, but the 128-credit requirement has been the same for Monmouth ever since I came here in 1986,” said Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President of Student Life and Leadership Engagement.
The credits modification can come from three different areas of the curriculum: general education, major requirements or designated electives. It will be very department focused and conclusions will be made on what is right for each major specifically.
Aaron Furgason, Ph.D., Chair of the Communication Department and a professor of communication, said, “The 120 credits should make it easier for students to graduate in four years, so that is definitely a positive for students. The department is in the initial phase of discussing possible options to deal with the removal of the eight credits and as of today, have not made any definite decisions.”
Students can take 15 credits each semester without having two semesters with 18 credits. Of course, the option is still available to those that want to take the opportunity. A freshman coming in the fall of 2020 can take 18 credits per semester and graduate in 3½ years without taking any summer courses.
However, “The question of students falling under that 120-credit requirement who have already been here prior is a complex situation and undetermined,” said Nagy.
Nagy added, “I think this new requirement will be good for everyone. When students graduate on time it helps them to stay on track, be retained and get a job which positively reflects on the institution.”
Summer enrollment can potentially decrease because of this revision, but if graduation and retention rates increase it can offset any loss during the summer for the university.
“Overall, the effect will be positive. Faculty report that students often have trouble with six classes; this reduction will result in a more stable academic performance,” said Moriarty.
Because of course revisions, the adjunct professors may not teach the same courses which would also allow full-time faculty to teach more classes. Jeffrey Christakos, M.B.A., Chair of the Department of Accounting and a Specialist Professor of Accounting, said that the 120-credit requirement would better allow students to graduate on time and provide for more extracurricular activities.
He also mentioned, “The only students that may slightly be affected are accounting students who want to get close to 150 credits for CPA licensing.”
Deanna Dantas, a junior English and business management student, stated, “I think it will be very beneficial and will help people graduate on time without having to worry about taking so many classes per semester which can become overwhelming or simply too much money if they need to take an extra semester.”
“It was a lot harder for me since I had to fulfill requirements for two majors and general education requirements,” explained Dantas. “I was expecting to finish in four years but actually have to take an entire extra semester of classes. This deterred me from graduating with my class.”
PHOTO COURTESTY of Monmouth University