By: Jonathan Baca, Staff Reporter | Photo By: Scott M. Roberts, Photojournalist
Confusion about course requirements and the eligibility of Honors classes have left some students unable to receive diplomas, said Associate Dean of CHSS Zachary Shank.
Honors courses had been listed as Humanities or Fine Arts credits, but students who took these classes were recently informed that the classes would no longer count for Humanities credits, said Shank.
Criminal Justice major Steven Martos said he was ineligible to receive his degree for Psychology because he had believed the Honors courses he took would fulfill the required Humanities credits for the program.
“I was told that these courses would count toward my degree,” said Martos.
Martos said he changed majors and thought he was on track to receive his diploma in Psychology.
He said he was told that he needed credit for one Humanities class, and that at the start of the next catalog year the two Honors classes he had taken would fulfill those credits.
When the next year began, he was told that they would no longer count toward his missing credits.
“I worked for that Psychology degree. I was under the impression that I would be able to receive it with the classes I had been taking,” said Martos.
Shank said the situation was caused by poor communication and ever changing course requirements. The language in the letter sent to students in the Honors program at the start of each term was misleading, and listed Honors courses as Humanities electives, he said.
“The wording in that letter is misleading. It used to be true in the past, but it is not true anymore,” said Shank.
Martos said he never received such a letter. He worked with an academic advisor who was very attentive in helping him try to substitute his Honors courses for the missing Humanities credits, but that the request was denied because of the way the Psychology program is set up, he said.
Shank said many associate programs have restructured their required courses, and unless students keep up to date on the changing requirements of their programs, they end up taking unnecessary courses and missing out on mandatory credits.
“Problems often arise when students change majors. Some of the courses they took may not count toward their new degree. It’s a good problem to have because it means students are finding something they really love,” said Shank.
The misleading language on the letter sent to students has been corrected.
The school is requesting that Honors courses be counted as Humanities or Social Sciences credits, said Shank.
In order for the Honors classes to be eligible as Humanities and Social Sciences credits, Shank said the curriculum needs to be sent to the state’s General Education Common Core.
The curriculum would be evaluated by a committee of teachers and administrators from around the state to see if it fulfilled certain criteria.
“It’s a fairly simple process,” said Shank.
Martos said he was told the only way to receive his diploma for his Psychology degree would be for him to take two more Humanities courses.
“I wish I could, but right now I can’t take the time to take two more classes,” he said.
He said that although they did not count toward either of his degrees, he does not regret taking the two Honors courses.
“I learned so much stuff that is invaluable to me now, so I wouldn’t take it back,” he said.