SPC Eliminates Scientific Literacy Course and Plans More Changes for the Future


If you were one of the students at Saint Peter’s College that was hardly excited for the school’s recent change to the Natural Science’s required courses, you were not alone. Many students were upset after being informed of a new transition that would mean they had wasted their money on an unnecessary course which would not be counted towards their required classes.

The administration was listening.

Last week, the academic dean sent out a follow-up e-mail stating that NS.110 would be deemed a fulfilled science course for any student that is graduating after August 2012 and has taken the course. So, this means that those students who have already taken NS.110 will only need one more Natural Science course to satisfy the requirements and their money and time were not unnecessarily squandered.  Some students feel relieved from the updated e-mail while others feel indifferent to the change.

Rosemarie Suarez, a junior at SPC, does not feel the change was impactful.

“I’m a science major so I had already taken two bio courses and a psychology course which were towards my major so this doesn’t really affect me. I don’t see the new change as a disadvantage since there are now only two courses in the Natural Science requirements,” Rosemarie stated.

The controversy began on March 21st,when the student body received the first e-mail from the academic dean informing the Saint Peter’s College community of a change in the core curriculum, specifically, in the Natural Science section. The e-mail said that the Scientific Literacy class, NS.110, was going to be removed from the core beginning fall 2011.  The Natural Science classes would be reduced to six credits as opposed to nine and this change would not affect seniors graduating May or August 2012. However, this new change would definitely have an effect on the underclassmen who had already taken the course. Students that had taken NS.110 would keep the course as a “general elective.” But many students thought: what can I possibly do with a general elective?

Email sent to students on March 21

Daniel Miniet, a Communications student, wondered too.

“As a student, I felt disheartened. All the hard work I had put in to that class didn’t matter. There is nothing you can do with a general elective and it doesn’t go towards any of your required classes. I don’t think it was a fair call,” Daniel said.

The elimination of the Scientific Literacy class is the first change the college has made to the core curriculum in years and apparently, the changes won’t stop there. Velda Goldberg, the Academic Dean, says that the college is undergoing a routine process that all colleges experience.

“Periodically, all colleges review their curriculum. It hasn’t been done in Saint Peter’s for quite a while, but more changes will be phased in progressively and gradually as the years go by,” Dean Goldberg said..

Seemingly so, future SPC students will be required to take certain basic, required classes like an “intensive” composition class and a plurism class as well as a capstone experience for the students to  look back at all they’ve learned in their major courses and how it will benefit them for their future.

“The capstone experience will help students pull together all they’ve learned from major courses and have a chance to retrospectively look at their college experience but to also look forward towards their career path. The courses can also double count for things in certain majors,” Dean Goldberg Said.

The Dean assures the student body that the faculty senate and Saint Peter’s College is always fair in making transitioning decisions like this one.

“When there is a change in the courses, we want to make it as fair as possible. Many times, when requirements are lessened for certain students coming in, the college will make it equal to the other students. I can’t speak for the senate but I can say that the student representatives did speak up for the student body and that is a major reason for the modification,” Dean Goldberg said.


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