Cooper Millhouse 0

Patrick Henry College Language Credits

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To whom it may concern,

This is a formal request from the students of Patrick Henry College for the registrar to reevaluate their policies concerning language credits. While there are many advancements which could be made on this front, our current request is simple: change the off-campus language credit requirement from “Highest level of intermediate language” to a requirement of 12 credits of a given language.

Our argument is multi-faceted. While on paper it may appear that the requirements of an on-campus language student match the requirements of an off-campus language student, this is not the case. It is the experience of the students that, commonly, when fulfilling our language requirements at a local community college, language credits are often earned in 5 credit courses. While, at times, it is possible to fulfill language requirements off campus in 3 credit courses, the registrar’s current policy unfairly hinders sections the student body and deserves reevaluation and rectification. The current policy is counterproductive to the mission of the school, discourages initiative, and hampers attempts at self-improvement.

The current policy places a higher financial burden upon students seeking to fulfill their language requirements off campus. Accepting that off campus language students will inherently shoulder an added financial burden, it is still in our interest to minimize this burden. Added to the hefty costs involving bi-weekly transportation to Annandale or Alexandria for these courses, the cost of bankrolling 4 semesters of 5 credit courses without any sort of financial aid or payment plan cannot go unnoticed. Because of the current policy of the registrar, off-campus language students are paying for 18-20 credits; this burden could be lessened by a chance in policy. On the note of finances, there is one additional consideration: since students at PHC are likely to have come from a different state, most students are discouraged from taking the language they truly desire at an off campus location because of out-of-state costs of tuition. This is the manner in which the current policy discourages the initiative of students as it discourages students from learning the language they feel would be most beneficial to them in their future career path.

Perhaps the only resource more valuable to a PHC student than finances is our time. The current policy consumes more time of off-campus language students than on-campus language students. Courses of a higher credit burden inherently require (by law) more class time as well as more time outside of class to complete assignments. Though off-campus language students spend more time in class and on assignments than their counterparts, their effort and time is discounted by the school; this is to say PHC requires more time of these students in order to receive the same degree.

Similarly, as, under the current policy, a greater number of credits is required by off-campus language students, a greater level of proficiency is also required. With more time invested in a language, in theory, a greater level of proficiency should result. It logically follows that if a higher requirement of time exists, a higher requirement of proficiency exists as well. The requirements of PHC on its students involving language credits is not equal.

Students are incentivized to find creative (often unhealthy) opportunities to minimize the burden that these courses place on them. As we are often encouraged by our academic superiors to “take any language other than Spanish,” we find ways to accept this wisdom without accepting the full brunt of the burden of off campus courses. The current registrar policy encourages students to attempt to test into higher levels of language than they are truly capable. Expediency, rather than education, is encouraged by the current policy.

The students of PHC believe a reevaluation of this policy which leads to rectification of these issues will be mutually beneficial to both the school as well as the students. With implementation of this suggestion, on average, students will be incentivized to more thorough levels of education (which benefits the institution) and students will be gifted a decreased burden and more equal expectations of their education. With implementation, off-campus language students will participate in a much more reasonable 12-15 credit hours of language, in most cases still exceeding the number of credits required of on-campus language students.

Reevaluation and rectification of these issues will improve our institution and increase the value of our students in their future careers, benefiting the current students, future students, and Patrick Henry College.

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