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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Faculty to vote on 4×4 plan in April

The Faculty Senate unanimously voted Friday to wait until April to make a decision on the four-by-four plan.

The four-by-four final report was distributed to faculty at the end of October with an attached memo asking the schools and the Faculty Senate to vote on the plan by mid-January. A four-by-four curriculum would change GW’s credit structure from a typical course load of five three-credit classes to four four-credit classes.

“I don’t see how you can agree or disagree with this scenario unless you have done a thorough review of the curriculum,” Faculty Senate chair Lilien Robinson said.

Faculty Senate members said the January deadline would have made the process too rushed, considering that the report represents over a year’s worth of study.

“My sense is that if you force a vote early on, it will almost certainly be negative,” Faculty Senate member William Griffith said.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Donald Lehman was reluctant to extend the deadline at Friday’s Faculty Senate meeting, saying that much of the consideration on how to implement the four-by-four plan should be done only after it is approved.

“I still strongly recommend that we don’t draw it out endlessly,” he said at the meeting.

Departments and schools have already begun meeting to discuss four-by-four. Lehman said only the business school has asked for an extension, but that all of the schools will now have until April to vote.

Not all of the schools need to approve the four-by-four plan for it to be adopted in individual schools.

David Grier, the associate dean of academic programs at the Elliott School, said it would be difficult for the Columbian College and the Elliott School to come to different decisions on the four-by-four because their classes are so closely tied, but the business or engineering schools could easily remain in the five-by-three curricular structure if the other schools switched.

At the Faculty Senate meeting, some faculty members said asking for faculty input after the report was already formulated showed the four-by-four’s emphasis on saving money rather than improving academics.

In an interview with The Hatchet, Grier dismissed these accusations. “There’s an awful lot of debate that says it’s all about the money,” he said. The real question is, “what is the best education we can offer with the resources we have.”

The four-by-four curriculum will generate a minimum savings between $5 and $10 million annually, according to the report. It presents three distribution scenarios of reduced sections between tenured, non-tenured and part-time professors.

The change, if voted in, would not occur for at least two years, according to the report.

Switching to a four-by-four model was studied twice before, in 1992 and 2003, and was rejected both times.

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