In the fall of 2013 Mercyhurst switched from a trimester academic calendar to a semester calendar with a J-term in January. Along with this switch, a new core was concocted that included seventeen classes.
According to an article from The Merciad in 2013, the core had not been revised since 1997 and should be revised every decade.
So here we go again. It has been three years and already people have been so unhappy with the current situation with the core and the academic calendar that new changes have been made.
There are many seniors on campus who remember the trimester calendar, the effects of that switch, and they are fed up with the changes. On the social media platform YikYak for example, one student stated, “Tired of the schedule changes- let’s pick something.” As frustrated as some students might be, I think we will all come to find that these new changes will be a benefit for all.
J-Term is gone. Part of me is upset by this, and another part of me is overjoyed. I got an extra-long winter break this year after I chose to not take a J- Term class. As nice as that was, I know that many programs have built in special courses that were meant to be taken over the J-Term. Now these classes have to be restructured and turned into a longer mini-semester course.
For my situation, that is not all bad. Now, rather than spending three weeks in the Research class for the Chemistry department, I will be there for eight weeks next year. Hopefully that will allow for a more in depth exploration into the research that I am doing and things will feel less rushed.
Scheduling is going to be a pain. I hope that I am wrong with this prediction. Hopefully, the mini-semesters will open up possibilities to take needed courses. However, I feel that scheduling around them will prove difficult.
The new core is the juicy news. Many people will benefit, including myself, so I am strongly in favor of this change. It is called the REACH curriculum where each letter corresponds with a value of the core.
All students have to do is take two 100 or 200-level classes in each category, while making sure prefixes (e.g. HIST or BIO) are not duplicated. The senior ethics capstone course will remain in place.
I think this 14 class core is much more suitable and will allow students to more easily choose minors or double majors in the future.
Not being able to duplicate course prefixes is the only aspect of this new core that I am uncomfortable with. I was planning on taking an American history class and being done with that category of the core. Now, however, I am required to take a POLI or ECON class. As a science major with little to no background in either of these fields, it is rather intimidating.
The most important part to many students is how the length of the semesters will be affected. Rather than the last day of finals being on May 20, two weeks after some colleges conclude their spring terms, in 2017, finals at Mercyhurst will be done by May 11. This will allow for a longer summer break and give students the much needed down time they deserve. What’s not to like about that?