An increasing topic of debate on Pacific University’s has been the administration’s decision to move the January term to May, while lowering the credit cap from 38 to 36. Many students packed the University Center (UC) to attend President Hallick’s open forum on Nov. 14 to ask questions regarding the change but remain frustrated with aspects of the decision.
During the forum, Hallick highlighted the positives of moving the January term and specifically specified issues with the length, of the term, difficulty for the completion of travel classes in two weeks, the cost of paying adjuncts and problems with time lost to whether. She also explained if a student does not exceed 36 credits, they could use the unused credits towards May term without having to pay; creating an allowance system. However, she also mentioned that current students would not be affected by the credit change and they would be “grandfathered in.”
At the forum, a staff member asked to clarify a note taken from past meeting that about 100 of the 372 graduates last year went over 36 credits and 18 had gone over twice. Numbers which were confirmed by both Hallick and the Interim Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Sarah Phillips on the spot.
Some faculty members also have issues with these changes but more so with the process of the decision. “Faculty in the Arts and Sciences, when given a poll without much clarity about where we stood, voted strongly against it. I don’t see how the decision could have taken that into account; it seems like it was made for other reasons,” one anonymous professor said.
Media Arts Department Chair, Jennifer Hardacker, expressed similar concerns.
“There are too many unanswered questions that should have been addressed before the final decision was made,” Hardacker said. “I am under the impression that the students were not consulted until after the President made this decision.”
Chemistry Department Head David Cordes was more outspoken on his stance.
“It is my impression that many faculty feel that their input on this issue has been ignored. Faculty were not asked to formally vote on the calendar change, but, in a non-binding survey, they did express a preference for keeping the current January term,” Cordes said. “My conversations with students gives me the impression that their input was not considered either when this change was made.”
“I think that such a major change should be carried out in close consultation with students, faculty, and staff. That is something that is not happening in the current calendar change process. All the decision making has occurred in a top-down fashion without significant input from the affected groups,” Cordes added.
Students and Faculty alike felt this “top-down fashion” in a campus wide email on Nov. 30 sent by President Hallick that treated the decision as a done deal.
“They [the administration] didn’t deem it necessary to talk before the decision was made,” said Marissa Williams.
In Hallick’s email, she does include known issues that should be worked out before the change can be implemented but includes no mention of a possibility of keeping Jan. term. While some faculty and students remain unsure of these changes, the administration still feels this move will have a positive impact.