By Rose Cyburt
There will be some changes in classes starting next year.
The college was last accredited in the school year of 2009-2010 by the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC). The next accreditation is scheduled for 2019-2020.
The HLC evaluation verifies that institutions meet certain standards, such as being engaged in continuous improvement, according to its website. Schools are also required to adhere to institutional changes in policies and practices.
With the upcoming accreditation, the administration reviewed class structure. Alma, which provides four credits per hour, has decided that in order to meet higher standards 10 minutes will be added to all classes.
The plan is to raise availability of classes by providing the same classes in the morning and afternoon, with an emphasis on labs to make it easier for students that are athletes or in band. The goal for the school is to achieve academic excellence and assure that students are not missing anything.
“Establishments want to be accredited,” said Dustin Bissell, English professor. Two years ago, he had been an editor for the HLC accreditation at Central Michigan University.
“CMU offers three credits per hour and they have an extra week of classes.” Essentially, Alma students are receiving more credits for the same amount of class time as Central.
Previously, the classes ran on the same time schedule, but the new change in structure is “screwy” in the words of Bissell. It will make it more difficult for students to have back to back classes.
“I like teaching classes that are blocked together because I am able to get into a groove, but when there is a gap I feel as if I’m starting over,” said Bissell. “This is a necessary evil though in a way.”
One of the key points to extending class periods is that a professor won’t have to skimp on material and students will receive more one on one during this time.
“Certain courses will be easier to adjust than others” said Bissell.
Professors that have taught for decades are used to fitting material into the designated time.
“They have adapted to teaching the most valuable information and while the extra time may help, it also may be a waste covering material that isn’t necessary,” said Bissell.
“Active learning classes will be easier to change since it provides more time for discussion with the students.”
It is unclear as of yet whether professors will be compensated for the extra time. While 10 minutes may not seem like a critical amount of time, it affects office hours and does make a difference when it is looked at for the whole school year.
Students aren’t necessarily against the idea, though, and see the benefits.
“I generally like gaps in between my classes,” said Claudia Walter (’20). “I don’t think it will make too much of a difference and it only seems to make sense.”
“It will be hard for upper classmen to adjust,” said Eric Ferrara (’19). “I do think it is beneficial though especially for students in labs.”