Today: Apr 21, 2024

Changes to LEP requirements

Part II of our LEP Special Section

Photos Courtesy Monica Szakacs
From top to bottom: Marianne Kennedy, interim provost; Mike Shea, English department chair; Ilene Crawford, co-coordinator of composition and professor of English; Polly Beals, director of the Liberal Education Program; Nicole Henderson, director of the First Year Experience program.

Under the new Liberal Education Program (LEP), changes have been made throughout the halls and departments at Southern. Specifically, world languages, public health, psychology and the communications departments have altered their requirements.

“Students used to be required to take four semesters of language if they were bachelors of arts students and two semesters of language if they were bachelors of science students,” said Elena Schmitt, World Languages chair. “Now that distinction has been erased and all students at this point have to take three semesters. So that concerns just incoming freshmen and students who enter the university after [the Fall of] 2011.”

Schmitt said the goal is to move from a seat time requirement to the proficiency requirement, for which students have to show that they have achieved intermediate level of proficiency in their target language.

In order for a student to go from a lower level of language to a higher one, Schmitt said the student must obtain a C or better in each class. If a student earns a D, that indicates the student has not developed the “proficiency sufficient to function” in the next level.

The world language department has also adjusted to the LEP by offering more sections in both 101 and 200 levels that are specifically designed for freshmen. Schmitt said this will allow freshmen to start taking a language right after high school. However, most of these sections are taught by adjunct professors, so additional adjunct professors must be hired.

The LEP has also caused changes to be made for public health majors, said Michele Vancour, Undergraduate Program Coordinator for public health.

“We implemented academic standards that our majors must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and that they must achieve a C or better in every public health course in order for them to count towards the major,” she said.

Vancour said students will have two attempts at a course. If they fail to achieve the course requirements, the student could be put on department probation or they would be removed from the major if their GPA falls below the required 2.5.

There have also been GPA requirement changes made to the psychology department, said Lawrence Brancazio, chair of the curriculum committee.

Currently, a 2.5 is the minimum acceptable GPA for a psychology major to maintain. However, psychology majors starting at Southern next fall will be required to maintain a minimum of a 2.8 GPA.

This change does not affect current psychology students; it only affects incoming freshmen, said Brancazio, adding that raising the minimum GPA was necessary in order to motivate students to strive for better.

“We’re raising the expectations because the job market is so hard,” said Brancazio. “We want students to know what we think it is they need to be competitive.”

The GPA has also changed for communication majors, said David Petroski, chair of the department.

“All of the course have a prerequisite of a C,” said Petroski. “So functionally it is a C average, or 2.0, but it is not listed as such. So someone doesn’t have to have an overall 2.0 GPA to enter the program, but they have to earn Cs or better in all of their Com classes including the core classes.”

Petroski, who is part of the Tech-Fluency Steering Committee, said that under the LEP, while many students do not have a problem maintaining the required GPA, there are repercussions for those who do not achieve the departments standards. Students will have two attempts at the course. If the student does not pass, they cannot stay in the communication program.

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