Reactions to a redesigned class schedule

Chase Isbell

Students at Washington and Lee University returned to campus this Winter Term to a variety of changes to their schedules and credit requirements.

One of the largest differences between this year’s fall and winter terms lies in the schedule itself. Unlike last term when the classes lasted for 55 minutes or one hour and 25 minutes, the new schedule blocks in an hour or an hour and a half for each class. Although it most likely will provide little change to the actual dynamic and content of classes, the new class length has eliminated awkward class times like 9:05 a.m. and 1:25 p.m. and replaced them with 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Another major change is the number of credits required for graduation for sophomores and first-years. In the past, and still for juniors and seniors, students were required to receive 113 credits for graduation. From now on, students will be required to earn 120 to receive their degrees.

This has also resulted in a greater willingness among the faculty to approve more overloads (16+ credits). Many of these extra credits will result from the recognition of PE credits. In the past, students would take four PE courses but only receive one credit. Now, they will receive one credit for each course. I, for one, see the potential of a course overload as beneficial, as it allows more students to make the schedules they wish to have.

However, the inclusion of a new category of classes, known as experiential credits, seems to have left students confused and unsure of the requirements.

“I don’t have anything against them saying you need to have [experiential] credits or do work outside of the classroom, but they could have done a better job with the rollout or explanation,” Sho Gibbs, ’21, said.

I must agree that the experiential credits still seem to be shrouded in mystery. I, too, have no problem with the requirements; however, I do believe the school could do a better job explaining what this means.

Students have also expressed concerns that the experiential credits will require finding work or internships outside of the classroom. This, of course, would be a near impossibility for certain groups of students.