Saturday, October 25, 2014

Degree Completion Plans change

Majors undergo revision to allow for students to have greater opportunities in classrooms and careers

After months of contemplation and strategizing, many departments within Liberty University have decided to alter their Degree Completion Plans (DCP) in an effort to accommodate the growing needs of the student body.

According to Center of Academic Support and Advising Services Executive Director for Administration Dwayne Melton, the DCP changes offer students more options to complete general education requirements. A few of these changes will allow students to take program specific courses that meet the core competencies to fulfill general education requirements instead of adding to the total credit hours needed to complete their degree program. Melton encouraged freshmen and sophomores with questions to meet with their advisors, while juniors and seniors should meet with their faculty mentors or advisors.

Transition — Incoming students will register under the new DCPs. Photo credit: Ana Campbell

Transition — Incoming students will register under the new DCPs. Photo credit: Ana Campbell

In addition to changes within the College of General Studies, various departments are planning to undergo a restructuring process that will better cater to the changing needs of Liberty students entering today’s work force. Although the majority of proposed changes remain unofficial, the School of Communication & Creative Arts (SCCA) has made significant progress in solidifying its new structure, according Digital Media & Communication Arts (DMCA) Chair Bruce Kirk.

“We went from four DCPs, or what you might call concentrations, to now 10 concentrations, so we more than doubled the number of concentrations that we had before,” Kirk said. “As we looked around the country at other universities, other benchmark schools, what we realized was we felt like we could make our program more robust and more specific for students that have particular areas that they are trying to grow in.”

Kirk explained the old DCPs did not fully encompass or represent the jobs and opportunities that are out there.

“Now, for example, if you look at digital media, we have a performance concentration, which we did not have before, we have a video concentration, we have an audio concentration, we have a trans-media concentration and we have a social media and interactive (concentration),” Kirk said.

According to Kirk, the new changes will primarily affect incoming students and underclassmen within the department who have not yet begun their major-specific courses. However, upper-level SCCA majors also have the option of switching from the old DCP to the new one. At any level, every SCCA student wishing to change concentrations will be paired with a faculty adviser who will aid the student in the transition from one concentration to the next.

“If you’re a student in DMCA right now and you’re a junior or a senior … bring in your old DCP, bring in a copy of your new DCP that you’re thinking about moving to,” Kirk said. “We put them side by side, and we look at what you’ve completed on the old one, and we see how that impacts the new one. Then you can determine what route you want to take after you sat down with your adviser and looked over all your courses.”

While departments like SCCA are focused on expansion, others, such as the Department of English and Modern Languages (EML), for example, are focused on integration, according to EML Department Chair Dr. Matthew Towles.

He said he plans to exchange its current DCP for a new one that condenses current courses into courses that are less specialized but more rounded and foundational in certain areas.
“For the B.A. in English, we incorporated two beginner courses into the major,” Towles said. “(These) cornerstone courses provide students with a broad overview of literature itself.”
Cornerstone courses, according to Towles, are the basic building blocks of the department’s new DCP, which were developed to provide students with a more rounded foundation in both reading and writing than that offered by the old DCP.

Building off of the 200-level courses, Towles said, EML will introduce 300 and 400-level courses “to reflect the two skills English majors should have: reading and writing,” and ending with a “capstone” course to complete the degree with an integration of all skills learned from previous courses.

Towles said that although many course titles and numbers will change for the fall 2014 semester, current English majors will still remain on the same DCP. Incoming students and underclassmen, however, will begin the newly-structured program beginning with the
cornerstone courses.

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