The amount of time students have to drop courses free of penalty at the beginning of the semester could get longer if a piece of legislation passed by CCSG is approved by Penn State faculty.
During this weekend’s Council of Commonwealth Student Governments meeting, the group passed legislation that would allow for a 13-day drop period for courses without penalty, ending on Saturday of the second week of classes, instead of the current eight-day drop period.
The legislation will go to the Penn State Faculty Senate to be talked about in the undergraduate education committee, CCSG vice president Chandra Ulinfun said. If it is passed through the committee, it will go to all of the senate for a vote.
Ulinfun said the time it takes to get through the whole process ranges with each piece of legislation. Once it is approved in CCSG, it may take about a month to get to the committee. Once they have discussed the legislation, it could take about two senate meetings or longer to make it to a vote, Ulinfun said.
Also at this weekend’s meeting, Penn State World Campus was discussed and Wayne Smutz , executive director of World Campus, was the guest speaker. He said the most frequently asked question about World Campus is, “Is this the real Penn State?”
“[World Campus degrees] are the degrees of Penn State,” Smutz said. “The issue we are trying to take away is that how you learn is not as important as that you do learn.”
Members of CCSG had several other questions regarding problems with policy and proper procedure of World Campus, as well as the system of World Campus overall.
Smutz answered questions on how World Campus students are engaged with other students and faculty at a distance, and how this affects their education.
“The movement of technology in higher education has changed how education is delivered,” Smutz said. “We have historically hired instructional designers who learn how to design education courses online, which leads to higher involvement of faculty and students, so the quality of education is a positive one.”
Before Smutz spoke on Saturday, members of the academic affairs committee discussed on Friday many World Campus policies that are not being carried out well enough for students on their campuses.
During committee breakouts on Friday, Taylor Hall-Masiello , director of the academic affairs committee, said the current biggest issue is when a student of one campus wants to take a class offered at another campus. If a student wants to do this, he or she must wait a week until classes start to call the registrar and determine if he or she is permitted to schedule the course. Hall-Masiello (junior-accounting) said some students don’t want to have to wait a week until classes start to schedule a course.
Another problem is that certain courses are restricted specifically for World Campus students, which prevents students on campuses to enroll in the courses even when they need them for their major.
Smutz, in response to the concerns, said certain World Campus courses need to be reserved for World Campus students who do not have access to resident courses on campuses. Smutz also said this is a program restriction, and not a World Campus restriction, meaning that the original approval of certain courses to be restricted was because there is a direct competition with resident courses and World Campus courses.
Smutz said there have been efforts to prevent this competition for the future, and that he would look into revisiting these restrictions.
Although there was supposed to be legislation proposed to the council regarding World Campus, the legislation was tabled because Smutz answered the questions the council had regarding World Campus, CCSG President Ben Clark said.
Also during council weekend, CCSG held its diversity summit that featured guest speakers and performances celebrating different cultures. Carlos Wiley , director of the Paul Robeson Cultural Center, opened the summit by asking the audience to define diversity. Wiley said although race and color is an important aspect of diversity, other things like gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic background play a role in diversity, too. Wiley added that students have the ability to advocate for change.
“Come up with what you want to see and advocate for it on behalf of having a better institution,” Wiley told students.
Afterward, performances were put on from various commonwealth students, including a dance titled a Taste of Africa, and a taekwondo demonstration from the Penn State Taekwondo club.
Carina Pena , from Penn State Hazleton , said her favorite performance was the Hazleton dance group, Heart-N-Soul. The performance was to celebrate black culture and diversity, the group said before beginning.
“I learned about myself and who I am,” Pena (sophomore-public relations) said. “[The diversity summit] was very exciting and interesting.”
The student affairs committee also proposed recommendations to change a statement regarding the student facilities fee for Vice President of Student Affairs Damon Sims . The recommendations were approved to increase the dollar amount on an expense for a project to be approved by Sims. Clark said, right now, projects of a “very little amount” will sit on Sims’ desk and wait for approval, but said there is no reason that less expensive projects should need that approval.
Lastly, the election code, which lays out how elections will operate, was approved. Elections will take place at the next council weekend on April 12 and 13.
Three executive tickets with candidates for president and vice president were announced. Those include Richard Beyers and Hall-Masiello, Marissa Herb and Philip Hromanik, and Jalon Alexander and Molly Droelle .
Clark (senior-accounting) said he is excited to see three executive tickets because in the three years he has been involved with CCSG, he has never seen three tickets.
“I think it really shows testament to the organization and that it is strong, and people really want to be involved,” Clark said.