Advertisement

Shepherd cuts credit hours required for degree

March 11, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Freshmen entering Shepherd University for the first time this fall will only need 120 credit hours to graduate instead of the 128 currently required, making the college the statewide leader in putting the new policy in effect.
Herald-Mail file photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Freshmen entering Shepherd University for the first time this fall will only need 120 credit hours to graduate instead of the 128 currently required, making the college the statewide leader in putting the new policy in effect.

"This might sound little, but it's really big news. It represents about two years work by our faculty," Shepherd President Suzanne Shipley said.

Not only will the reduction in credit hours make it quicker and less expensive to earn a bachelor's degree, more importantly it will benefit students academically, Shipley said.

"We will be able to better prepare our students for personal and professional success. This is not about efficiency. It's about quality. They need to know what they're learning and why. They're given too many choices at too early an age. We aren't giving them enough structure," she said.

The credit-hour change, which follows a national trend, could reduce the time to graduate by a full year, saving students about $15,000 based on Shepherd's cost-of attendance, Shipley said.

About 90 percent of Shepherd's nearly 4,500 students are full time. About 21 percent graduate in four years, while 44 percent take six years.

The national average for students taking six years is less than Shepherd's at 39.6 percent, according to a summary provided by the university.

 "Twenty-one percent is no brag. We want to turn that around," she said.

 Colleges used to tell students to prepare for a well-rounded education. Today, the national trend is on preparing students for the future, whether it is a good-paying job or graduate school.

"Their parents want it, and the public wants it," Shipley said. "The investment needs to be tied to results, or we haven't done our jobs. We're adding connection to career all the way through.

"This is still a liberal arts school, but with more focus on professional preparation," she said.

The new policy will foster more independent learning by students outside the classroom, she said.

"You can't equate credit hours with learning," she said. "Just because they sit in a classroom doesn't mean they're learning."

Advertisement
The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|