Trustees concur with University Senate, reduce credit hours for graduation

Topic: Administrative

September 16, 2011

The Ball State University Board of Trustees has approved a recommendation to change of the number of credit hours required to graduate from 126 to 120, beginning spring 2012. This move is a significant step forward in improving students' time-to-degree while maintaining academic rigor.

In a presentation to the board, Provost Terry King said that University Senate recommended a change in Ball State's credit hour requirement for completion of the baccalaureate degree from a minimum of 126 credits to a minimum of 120. The recommendation follows extensive discussions among advisors, academic affairs administrators, faculty members and staff. The new process would be implemented as follows:

  • Current students may graduate in May 2012 with 120 credits if they complete all academic major requirements, complete all University Core Curriculum requirements, including the Writing Proficiency Program examination, and submit an application for graduation by the published deadline.
  • Students who matriculate in the spring 2012 and after will fall under the new 120-credit-hour rule.

This is a new minimum credit requirement for graduation, King said. Many programs will continue to require more than 120 credits for completion. However, for students choosing bachelor of arts and bachelor of science programs that can be completed at 120 credits, this change assists them in completing their degrees a bit sooner and with fewer electives.

King said the timing for this change is most efficient for students in the process of completing their applications for graduation.

Honorary degree

Trustees also approved the conferral of an honorary doctor of laws degree on Arthur Levine in recognition of his tremendous success as an educator, a pioneer in school equity reform, and advocate of higher standards in educator preparation.

Levine, president of The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, lectured at Ball State four years ago regarding the preparation of future teachers and school leaders, and Ball State is one of four university partners in Indiana for the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship. Levine will serve as commencement speaker in Ball State's graduation day ceremonies Dec. 17. 

"The honorary degree is a fitting tribute for his strong commitment to educational excellence and access, advocacy for higher education and for school equity reform, and continuing efforts to bridge the educational achievement gap between Americans of different races and socioeconomic statuses," said Jo Ann M. Gora, president of Ball State.

Levine has been president and professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, chair of the Institute for Educational Management at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, president of Bradford College, and a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Carnegie Council on Policy Studies in Higher Education. He has been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The board also received an update on plans presented by King to prepare for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation process. Every 10 years, the university conducts an exhaustive self-study followed by an on-site visit by an HLC review team. The self-study is being conducted now and will be complete by the end of 2012. Ball State's on-site evaluation is scheduled for 2013.

In other business, the board voted to extend jurisdiction for the University Police Department (UPD) to include the state of Indiana. This year, the Indiana legislature passed a new law that permits university police officers to exercise the department's powers throughout the state, and the board's vote aligns Ball State UPD with this new state law. The expanded jurisdiction will not alter UPD's day-to-day operations but most likely could come into play when escorting Ball State officials or guests within the state or if called upon to assist other local or state law enforcement agencies.

In addition, the board approved continuation of an early retirement program for faculty and professional personnel. The board also approved two changes to the university's Volunteer Employee Beneficiary Association trust (VEBA) and Life Insurance Continuance Fund (LICF) investment policy. The first change increases the target asset allocation of international equities and the second change adds DFA International Small Cap Value Fund as an approved investment.

By Joan Todd, Executive Director of Public Relations
University Marketing and Communications
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