Students prepare for new curriculum

It’s that time of term again: advising.

Students will begin advising for fall 2013 starting on Monday, April 22, although this time might be a little bit different.

Fall 2013 is when Mercyhurst University will begin the 4-1-4 term system. This system will include two 14-week terms separated by a term in January called a J-term intended for study abroad, or more concentrated classes on campus.

Students will be required to take 10 courses throughout the year, which means students may be taking up to 5 classes in the fall. With the transition to 4-1-4, classes will be shorter and are scheduled at various times throughout the day.

Current juniors, sophomores, freshman and incoming students will all be following the new core. Students graduating in the summer or in the fall of 2013 have the option to stay with the former core or transition to the new core.

With any transition of this magnitude there are bound to be some issues, but the Office of Academic Affairs and the Registrar are working tirelessly to see that all issues are met with some sort of solution.

The portal has a page dedicated to “core transition challenges” and adjustments that can be made toward those situations.

For example, students may have taken classes that fit with the old core that are no longer being offered, or have taken a class that does not fit the new core criteria. If this is the case, there are two options.

Category nine on the core curriculum is a “wildcard” option. If students have taken a class fitting with the old core standards and that class has moved categories or is not needed under new core standards, they can use it as their wildcard option.

Students should meet with their advisers to ensure the class can be used as a “wildcard.”

Students also have the option of requesting an exception. This request form can be found on the portal and should also be discussed with your adviser. All exception requests will be adjusted on your program evaluation this summer.

There are many places you can receive information about the transition to a 4-1-4 term system. The portal is the place with the most information including a FAQ sheet, exception request forms, a list of the new core classes and a mapping tool which helps lay out your future terms here at Mercyhurst.

Advisers, professors and academic counselors are available to help with any questions along with the office of Academic Affairs and the Registrar.

Registrar Sister Patricia Whalen said, “All of these resources are made available, so that students aren’t taking classes they don’t need.”

Whalen shares that the most important resource available to students is the Program Evaluation tool found on WebAdvisor. Program Evaluations have been updated to reflect the changes made in the core, and should be used by all students and advisers when choosing classes for next term.

“Our primary goal is to help students to graduate on time. If students follow their program evaluations and work with their academic adviser they should be able to do so in a timely manner,” Whalen said.

All in all, student feedback has been mostly positive regarding the move to semesters.

Freshman Rose McDonnell said, “It will be nice to be on break the same time as my friends at other schools, and of course the shorter classes will be enjoyable as well.”