For most Goshen College students, Study Service Term is one of the defining experiences of their time at Goshen College. Students who transfer to GC, however, have a difficult time fitting in the three-month long study abroad opportunity amongst the other Core requirements. New changes, active for the fall of 2015, will try to make this credit and time requirement a bit more manageable for transfer students.
The changes were approved by faculty vote on January 15th and will be active for students who transfer beginning in the fall of next year. The changes reduce the credit load on transfers, reducing the typical transfer student Core requirement from 32-34 hours to 16-27 hours.
“We [at Goshen College] have a large international education component and we want to honor that,” said Bev Lapp, chairperson for the Core Curriculum board. “But transfers face unique challenges. We think we came up with something that really maintains the mission of Goshen but eases the requirements to make it possible for more students to have a Goshen College education.”
Transfers will now have to complete just one three-credit-hour Religious World Perspectives class, Peacemaking Perspectives class or Engaging the Bible, whereas all three (a total of nine credits) were previously required. The new curriculum also calls for Core and Community and the SST component in addition to this one class.
The Study Service Term component for transfers was to take eight credit hours of foreign language and 12 credit hours of SST alternative classes, or to go on SST, typically 14 credit hours. Under the new system, transfer students will need four hours (one semester) of foreign language, one SST alternate class (three credit hours) and the Core 300 Global Issues Seminar (three credit hours). This difference of ten credit hours will make transferring much more realistic for some students.
“It is our hope that more students will consider transferring to Goshen and that no graduation requirement will be perceived as an impediment,” said Tom Meyers, Director of International Education. “Every graduate will still have some of the elements of international education during their time here.”
These changes also help push for more articulation agreements between Goshen College and other two-year colleges. These agreements would help students know what would be ahead of them in terms of curriculum to transfer to Goshen after their first two years.
“We have these with a couple places like Hesston and we’ve been working with IV tech,” Lapp said. “Also, every transfer is a different case. The Registrar’s Office looks at each transcript and makes changes accordingly—we want all students to feel welcome at Goshen College.”