Changes for ’07 a ‘healthy’ move

Throughout each semester, Missouri Southern’s curriculum changes.

For the fall of 2007, there will be 21 campus-wide changes made to the curriculum. In the Board of Governors meeting on March 23, Dr. Richard McCallum, vice president of academic affairs, presented the changes and the board passed them all. Changes in the curriculum are made for the service of the students.

“That’s the focus of why the changes are made,” McCallum said. “The changes are designed to enhance the students’ learning in degree consideration.”

If changes are needed, the process begins among the faculty. The proposals are made and presented to the campus-wide Academic Policies Committee, then the recommendations are discussed in the Faculty Senate. The last step is the approval of the Board of Governors.

“Generally, I think the board has approved all of the curriculum changes,” McCallum said. “As a part of our routine, it is possible that the changes in curriculum changes the requirements for degrees.”

One course change in the school of technology will enhance criminal justice majors with minors in crime scene investigation. A photography course will be improved to where the skills will focus on CSI. Dr. Tia Stait, dean of the school of technology, said new digital features will be added, along with the new industrial class with different objectives will benefit students.

Elke Howe, assistant professor in industrial engineering technology, said objective changes in the program will help first year students specifically.

“The added topics like team dynamics will help students understand differences of people,” Howe said. “Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and we should learn that.”

Some changes in the curriculum are made due to student suggestion. Dr. Glenn Coltharp, dean of the school of education, said the senior assessments have recommended student teachers have more time with in the field. In the past two years the department has tried to do this, now it will be a reality.

“We couldn’t do it overnight,’ Coltharp said. “Our big job should be getting them ready for the real world. It’s more than the theory they learn from the textbooks in the classroom, they need to get out and do it.”

This significant change will raise the student teaching hours from 300 to 700 hours in the field and affect 150 students per year.

“I’m excited,” he said. “There’s a lot of exciting things going on.”

Dr. John Messick, dean of the school of arts and sciences, said the 10 departments under his care are looking well. He said changes in the curriculum are good provided the need is apparent.

“I think it’s been a very healthy atmosphere for the academic curriculum,” he said. “If a department has reviewed the curriculum based on data and has evidence it will improve education.”