Hamline Plan revamped

Moderate changes made to the Hamline Plan after a December vote.

Kelly Holm, Reporter

As the fall semester came to an end, so did some aspects of the Hamline Plan. Last December, the undergraduate faculty voted to revise the current requirements. One of three diversity courses will be replaced with a global engagement requirement, and a collaborative problem solving requirement will also be added. While students will still need two natural science courses, only one requires a lab. In addition, the required number of breadth-of-study credits will decrease from 76 to 48.

“I did not hear about major push-back,” Professor John Mazis, President of the Faculty Council, said. “We took a vote… 70 percent of the faculty voted for [the changes]. That [other] 30 percent wanted a different package, but not drastically.”

Associate Dean Andy Rundquist explained the reasoning behind the alterations.

“The collaborative problem solving one, we’re excited about,” Rundquist said. “Research suggests that team projects help students learn… Team projects are not group projects, because team projects are designed to help everyone be a functional teammate, whereas when I talk to students about group projects, their number one complaint is that they have to do all the work.”

The global engagement requirement, Rundquist explained, was added because students may get through their three diversity courses without taking one relating to global issues, as many diversity courses center around matters only relating to the U.S.

“We’re excited that every student gets exposure to a notion of what it means to be a global citizen,” Rundquist said. “I don’t want the impression to be that Hamline doesn’t care about diversity as much… We’re just insisting that one of them needs to be from a global perspective.”

The elimination of one of the lab requirements for natural sciences, Rundquist stated, derived from the realization that most of Hamline’s peers only required one lab course.

Sophomore Erin Taylor appreciated this change.

“[Only requiring one] lab course will encourage those who are struggling in the sciences to seek out the sciences despite that,” Taylor said.

Physics professor Melanie Galloway was not as thrilled.

“I am disappointed,” Galloway said. “Right now our nation is suffering from scientific illiteracy in that people do not have a reasonable grasp on how to analyze and interpret data and think critically, skills that are best taught in a hands-on laboratory environment.”

Senior Heidi Lepisto was initially skeptical of the global engagement requirement, wondering if it meant that future Hamline students would need to study abroad. When she learned this was not the case, however, she applauded the change.

“I’m happy to hear that the global component is expected of all students now,” Lepisto said. “We hear so much about it at Hamline.”

Provost John Matachek explained that the decrease in required breadth-of-study was so that students could pursue further coursework in their major.

“Some majors would benefit from a little more depth within the major,” Matachek said.

The changes will go into effect fall 2018 for incoming students. Matachek confirmed that current students may take advantage of them if they wish, but it will not be required.