WPU is implementing an exciting curriculum change starting in Fall 2023. The faculty worked hard on this for more than two years to develop an innovative, transformative curriculum for students.
What: WPU is making two main changes: (1) Most classes will switch from three credit hours to four credit hours. (2) Our general education requirements are changing.
Why: Immersive learning, or learning with hands-on experiences, is a core tenant of our work here. We’re adding immersive learning to every course in general education and each major. The additional hour for each class ensures you get those critical hands-on experiences, the ones that transform you, teach you, and prepare you for your future.
The improvements mean students have fewer course requirements. A 4-credit hour system means students are considered full-time with three or four classes per semester. This gives students more time to explore their interests. The curriculum also has an emphasis on global citizenship.
The most important thing for you to know as we move into this transition is that these changes will not delay your progress to graduation. We will work with every student to ensure a smooth transition.
Dr. Elizabeth Kusko and Dr. Caleb Husmann share their experience with the shift to the 4-credit hour system.
Q: Why is WPU switching to a four-credit hour course structure?
A: WPU embraces its commitment to immersive learning, a key pillar in our strategic plan. We are working to incorporate more immersive learning strategies and activities into courses across the curriculum. A four-credit hour system will allow more time for those learning activities, such as collaborative projects, partnerships with external agencies, travel, case studies, simulation activities, and more.
Note that there will still be some classes available as one, two, or three credit hours.
Q: What else will change?
A: We are also changing the general education curriculum to better suit the needs of our students and prepare them for careers. Class names will change, so please speak with your advisor about your requirements.
Q: Will this delay my graduation timeline?
A: No. We will work with every student to ensure that they can graduate on the same timeline.
Q: When will this change occur?
A: Some classes are already four credit hours. Most other courses will switch in Fall 2023. Note that there will still be some classes available as one, two, or three credit hours.
Q: What are the benefits for students?
A: Students will take fewer courses to earn more credit hours. Students will still take 12 or more credits to be considered full-time. So students will take fewer courses each semester and still be able to graduate in the same number of semesters.
Q: What will a four-credit hour class look like in my schedule?
A: Class blocks will be modified to allow more time for the four-credit courses. Faculty may choose to incorporate a fourth credit in different ways, including immersive assignments, field trips, weekend trips, and more engaging course activities.
Q: What is immersive learning, and why is it important?
A: Immersive learning is learning through doing. Our curriculum includes hands-on activities. Examples vary by class, but in biology, it might mean going to Crabtree Creek to take water samples and measure catfish. Media students take video and camera equipment outside to learn lighting techniques. Students learn best through this kind of teaching, and it emphasizes the connection to real-world experiences and preparation for careers.
Q: Will my internship also be four credit hours?
A: Traditional undergraduate students will complete an internship or professional experience as part of their requirements. The internships will be four credits.
Q: Will I still graduate with 120 credit hours?
A: Students will need 120 credits to graduate. They must also complete all of the requirements for their major and the general education core.