Committee members allow course overlap after change


Natasha Bazika

Senior Nicole Panichella schedules her last spring semester at Pitt-Johnstown.

Matt Churella, Opinions Editor

Pitt-Johnstown General-Education Advisory Committee members voted Oct. 24 to revise the Worlds of Knowledge general-education requirements, allowing more than one course in the same subject to count toward fulfillment.

According to the committee’s chair, Academic Affairs Vice President Janet Grady, the vote to approve the revision was 27-2, with one abstention.

She said that students may now select courses that not only meet their general-education requirements for specific Worlds of Knowledge courses, but also would allow them to pursue different concentration areas and minors with multiple courses in the same subject.

Previously, students had to take courses from different subjects, plus two follow-up courses.

Grady said the committee meets on an as-needed basis, usually in a Blackington Hall conference room, to discuss issues related to the general-education program.

“Allowing repeat course subjects across (different Worlds of Knowledge) demonstrates a clear commitment to personalizing the student academic experience,” Grady said.

Grady said students are encouraged to expand their knowledge by taking courses from different academic disciplines.

Grady said the revised requirements are to allow students to take classes that can benefit them in the future.

“All students can benefit from taking courses outside the major.

“The revision allows more flexibility for students to take classes that interest them,” Grady said.

Natural Sciences Division Chair Steven Stern gave the example that now students would be able to take Intro to Microeconomic Theory in one World of Knowledge and Intro to Macroeconomic Theory in another.

Stern said the old rule, which stated that students could only take one course, was one that he thinks some faculty members were not even aware of.

Stern said the revision would allow students to tailor their schedule to take courses they did well in.

He noted that students also had not allowed to overlap their general-education requirements with their minor’s requirements, prior to the revision.

“It works better for students.

“I think it makes for easier advising,” Stern said.

Humanities Division Chair Michael Stoneham said committee members should consider the potential results of revisions.

“My view is that we should think clearly before making a decision,” Stoneham said.

Stoneham said the Worlds of Knowledge requirements are to provide students with a broad understanding of many interdisciplinary issues that students could consider.

Grady said the Worlds of Knowledge were originally developed by the committee’s 30 members to provide students breadth in the courses they choose for General Education requirements.

Stoneham also acknowledged that students would now be able to overlap their general-education requirements with their minor’s requirements.

“Students will have an easier time gaining a minor and tracking their progress within the general-education program,” Stoneham said.

Junior Matt Chasmar said he thinks the revision would provide a great opportunity for students.

“I think it’s important that students should be able to diversify their major as well,” Chasmar said.