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Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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Student Senate recently passed a bylaw requiring a club representative at senate meetings. They have since paused the bylaw. Are you in favor of it?

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Graduation credit requirement should be changed

The+graduation+credit+requirement+page+on+the+Registrar+portal+displayed+on+a+Laptop+screen.
Ellen/Kilroy Miller Garrett
The graduation credit requirement page on the Registrar portal displayed on a Laptop screen.

Much like high school, a degree from Knox College requires a total number of credit hours earned. This number logically should be 36, right? Three credits per term, three terms per year for four years, equals 36.

However, the total credits a student needs to graduate is 35.8. Knox only offers half credit and one credit classes, neither of which ever add up to 0.8. The 35.8 credit requirement is confusing at the least and can even be annoying at times.

However, that’s not what we’re really interested in here. A total credit requirement is useful in some ways. It makes sure students have had enough experience in college-level academics to earn their degree, and provides a goal to complete one’s elements, major, and minor. But it also has downsides.

Students are able to graduate early by either overloading their schedules or because they enrolled in Knox with previous college credits earned prior to Knox, often during high school. This means that it is possible for a student to finish their elements, major, and minor before being at Knox for 35.8 credit hours.

This is the case for myself and other students. After taking a leave of absence for one term, despite finishing the elements, major, and minor requirements, my graduation term was pushed back to Fall 2024.

Those who are part of small departments on campus understand how difficult the course selection process can be. For most terms, I have taken the majority of the classes offered in my fields of study. Even for classes I haven’t taken in those areas, some repeat information from previously taken courses, and some are in a completely different area within the department. As a sculpture student, I could take graphic design, however, I have no interest in digital work.

While students should be taking courses out of their comfort zone, some may do more harm than good. Taking a course in the classics department may teach me something new, but the absolute lack of interest in the course material and with no way to implement it in my life would make the experience grueling, and I do not want to spend my time taking classes that make me feel bad and that I learn little in.

During my final term, I will have to take multiple classes that have nothing to do with my fields of study, or that I will otherwise actively have a lack of interest in. Rather than waste a term of my energy and life to complete three arbitrary credits, it would be much more valuable for Knox to allow students like me to graduate on time.

This does not mean that Knox should abandon a credit total, but flexibility in the total number of credits is important. Changing the credit requirement to 33 credits to graduate would have a litany of positive changes, all without risking a student’s ability to graduate in four years. It would allow students to take one 2.5 credit term per year, or multiple during a particularly hard year. Students would be able to have terms where their class load is less, which is a protective factor against burnout.

When an emotionally or physically disruptive major life event happens, people are much more likely to need to take a leave of absence. Instead of setting back their graduation plans, students would be able to take the time needed to settle and/or heal. This removes a stressor from an already stressful situation.

Ultimately, a more flexible total credit requirement is bound to do more good than harm. It would give students more autonomy over their class load and their time spent at Knox, as well as slow down the ever-increasing burnout rates among students, allowing students to thrive rather than survive.

Knox advertises itself as ‘human-powered’, the humans who power it deserve flexibility in their schedules.

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About the Contributor
Ellen/Kilroy Miller Garrett
Ellen/Kilroy Miller Garrett, Managing Editor
Ellen/Kilroy Miller Garrett '24 (they/them) is a Gender & Womens Studies major. They are the managing editor for The Knox Student. In their free time, they also work on WVKC, Knox's radio station. They have a tiny little dog (Frankie) who loves to join in on staff meetings. Awards Theodore Hazen Kimbale Memorial Award in Journalism - Feature article, 2023

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