Attachment 3, Minutes October 7, 2004
I. Background Information
The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers four degree programs in the Health Sciences in which students spend either two or three years on our campus and spend the remainder of their undergraduate time in a clinical program at an affiliated hospital or in professional school. Upon completion of their clinical/professional training, they are awarded a degree through UNK. These degree programs are as follows:
Radiography Comprehensive Major:
Students complete 70-76 hours of pre-radiography courses and then apply to a 24 month clinical training program at an affiliated school/hospital. The clinical program is worth 60 credit hours. The vast majority of these majors are on our campus for two years.
Respiratory Therapy Comprehensive Major:
Students complete 90 semester hours (3 years) of pre-respiratory therapy requirements at UNK. The student then applies to a 12 month clinical training program at an affiliated school/hospital. The clinical program is worth 35-37 credit hours.
Medical Technology Comprehensive Major:
Students complete 90 semester hours (3 years) of courses at UNK. Students then apply to an affiliated school/hospital for a 12 month clinical training program worth 35 credit hours.
Health Science Major:
This degree is a special program that allows students who have gained an early acceptance into a professional school in one of the health sciences to receive a B.S. degree from UNK if the following requirements are met:
- completion of 90 hours towards one of the pre-professional health science programs
- completion of all UNK general studies requirements
- completion of 32 hours of coursework in a health science professional school (the first year)
- not less than 32 hours shall be UNK credits
The majority of these students are at UNK for three years.
The courses required for each degree program are from a variety of disciplines but the majority of courses are in the biology, chemistry and physics departments. Like any other degree program, these students have been required to complete all the general studies, writing intensive, and cultural diversity requirements.
II. The Problem
Since the inception of the writing intensive requirement, students in these majors have continued to have problems completing the full 12 hour WI requirement for a variety of reasons. The primary reason is that these students are simply on our campus for a reduced amount of time. They are expected to complete both Expository Writing courses before they begin their WI courses and therefore, most do not start taking WI courses until their sophomore year. This leaves the students trying to complete the full 12 hour requirement in one to two years. A second reason is that these programs primarily consist of lower level courses in the natural sciences such as Anatomy & Physiology and General Chemistry. These types of courses are typically not writing intensive due the larger class size. A third reason is that these students are often not able to get into the writing intensive sections of courses required by their degree program or general studies because they are registering as underclassmen and the classes are closed.
The combination of these factors has resulted in numerous requests to the General Studies Director for writing intensive waivers. It was originally thought that the situation would improve as more writing intensive courses were developed across campus. However, this has not been the case because the problems mentioned above still exist. The General Studies Director continues to receive numerous such requests. With the development of so many cultural diversity courses, especially in the general studies program, very few students now have a problem meeting the CD requirement.
The problem with these students and the writing intensive requirements is somewhat different than the problem with transfer students and the fact that they also spend a reduced amount of time on our campus. UNK advertises these degree programs and students are attracted to UNK to pursue one of these health science degrees, in part, because these programs are offered at few other institutions in the state. Yet once the students begin the program, they often have an extremely difficult time fulfilling these requirements. The students do not feel that the institution is being fair to them and feel that they have a legitimate complaint.
Over the past several years, this problem has been looked at numerous times and many ideas to improve the situation have been brought to the table. Meetings were held with the Allied Health Committee, the Educational Policy Committee, and the NSS Department Chairs to discuss these options. Following is a list of some of the ideas that were explored:
- Ask the natural science departments to increase their WI offerings in lower level courses.
- Explore the possibility of developing science laboratories for WI credit.
- Select the most commonly required courses for these students and "require" that they be WI.
- Consider developing independent study courses to meet the WI requirement.
- Consider allowing individual students to sign up for specific courses for WI credit (as is done with Honors courses).
- Work with the community colleges to increase the development of more of their courses as WI courses.
- Consider approaching clinical and professional schools to determine whether any of their courses would meet our WI requirements.
- Consider decreasing the requirements for these students on a pro-rated basis.
After much discussion at that time, it was decided to wait and see if the problem improved as more courses were developed. The science department chairpersons and the Dean of Natural and Social Sciences recently met with the Health Sciences Director to re-visit some possible solutions to rectify this problem. The issue has recently been brought up for discussion again for two reasons. First of all, the situation has not significantly improved and students are still encountering difficulty in fulfilling these requirements. Secondly, the General Studies Director recently received a WI proposal from the Radiography Program at Mary Lanning Hospital in Hastings. In an effort to help their students fulfill our requirements, they are requesting that six hours of their program be considered for writing intensive credit. Most involved in the discussion up to this point do not feel that this is a viable option. Mary Lanning is only one of many schools/programs that is willing to do this for their students. Many also feel that the original goal or purpose of the WI requirement may not be met by the type of writing done in a clinical program. It would very difficult to evaluate the quality of the WI credit hours. The general consensus of the group was that the situation would be better corrected if handled internally.
III. The Proposal
The Dean, the Chairs, and the Health Science Director came to the agreement that probably the best possible solution would be to pro-rate the WI requirement for health science majors based upon the number of years of pre-requisite courses required by the degree program. The group proposed that for each year of required courses, the students would be required to complete 3 hours of WI credit. Therefore, the requirements for each program would be as follows:
Radiography - 2 years of courses - 6 hours of WI required
Respiratory Therapy - 3 years of courses - 9 hours of WI required
Medical Technology - 3 years of courses - 9 hours of WI required
Health Sciences - 3 years of courses - 9 hours of WI required
All students pursuing these majors, even those transferring into these programs, would be held to these requirements. There would be no change in the cultural diversity requirement.
Thank you for your consideration on this matter.