McDaniel Plan Changes: Student and Administration Reactions

McDaniel’s faculty has voted on changes that affect the McDaniel Plan requirements that will be put into motion this upcoming fall 2016 semester. The goal of the new McDaniel Plan requirements are to continue to receive the highest quality liberal arts education, while increasing the freedom to shape academic experience based on your individual educational interests and goals. The changes included the EPE requirement reduced from four activities/courses to two activities/courses. The Second Language requirement has been reduced from a three-semester requirement to a two-semester requirement. The Social, Cultural and Historical Understanding requirement has been reduced from two classes to one class. The Sophomore Interdisciplinary Studies is recommended but no longer required. These changes sent social media into an uproar. Here are a few students’ reactions:

Alexaundria Leonard, Junior – “McDaniel College literally never ceases to amaze me. Between another tuition increase, a credit cap decrease, and a McDaniel Plan change that allows students who haven’t nearly worked as hard as I have graduate at the same time as me increase my validated frustrations.”

Summer Bowling, Senior – “I do not agree with the backlash against the McDaniel plan changes. These changes echo sentiments I have heard from nearly all of my classmates at some point or another. Sure, it sucks that none of these changes apply to me (would’ve loved to only take 2 gym classes), but at the end of the day, it’s better for these changes to happen sooner rather than later.”

McDaniel College’s Provost and Dean of Faculty, Dr. Julia Jasken gave the administration’s perspective on the McDaniel Plan revisions and the goal of this updates for students:

“I think the most exciting part of the McDaniel Plan revision is that it allows students more flexibility to shape the education they want, while still benefiting from a wonderful liberal arts education that is our trademark. The reality is that there is no one right way to deliver a liberal arts education. Some liberal arts colleges have as few as 16 credits worth of requirements, while others have as many as 76. They’re all great schools – they just have different philosophies in terms of how much freedom students should have in shaping their own educational paths. Any time changes like this happen for students there is going to be a certain level of frustration. That is certainly understandable. If students want to continue to take classes available to them within the original McDaniel Plan, they absolutely have that choice. The graduation requirement – 128 credits – is still the same, so the classes students have taken still enable them to make positive progress toward graduation. Many faculty had been hearing complaints from students over the years who felt that the McDaniel Plan required them to take too many classes. Others felt that the plan was too onerous and complicated. We were also concerned about the number of students who were needing to overload on classes to complete their general education requirements in light of the requirements within their specific academic program of study. The faculty wanted to make sure that students still had the opportunity to take a range of classes that are the hallmark of a good liberal arts education. They felt no aspect of the McDaniel Plan should be eliminated entirely, so opted for reductions, rather than eliminations, of the tags found in the plan. The goal is to ensure that our curriculum best aligns with the student interest and what they really want out of their education. It’s all part of our overall mission to be as student-centered as possible.”

Between now and the start of the Fall 2016 semester, faculty will be monitoring enrollments and wait lists and will be bringing on additional sections based on student demand. This is to ensure that curricular offerings best align with what students want from their McDaniel education and to continue maximize students’ interactions with professors, who genuinely care about changing lives.