June 24, 2018

The Global Citizenship Program does more harm than good

I enrolled in my first semester at Webster in 2014, the same year Webster implemented its new Global Citizenship Program (GCP). My graduating class will be the first class to graduate going through the entire program for four years. Until recently, I learned GCP may cause me to stay longer.

No, this is not going to be one of those rant piece about how dumb the GCP is and how it keeps people from graduating on time, yada yada yada. I get the idea behind it.

Webster is a global campus. They want us to expand our horizons, push us to become more cultured in many different aspects. The university says, “It is the blueprint to ensure Webster University graduates skilled women and men, prepared to take responsibility and apply what they know in any situation anywhere.”

I recently began a personal campaign to have a class I previously took count for the Art Appreciation credit required in the GCP. The class was film and television appreciation.

My first argument was that if music appreciation, theater appreciation and art appreciation all filled the GCP requirement, clearly film and television appreciation should count. Film is an art in the school of communications, right? They all end in appreciation, so that has to count for something.

Not to my surprise, that argument was quickly thwarted by my advisor. To be honest, word association is a weak argument to work with. It is clear the speech and debate team is not in my future when thinking since they all end in appreciation would convince a university to adjust to my request.

I was pushed to 18 credit hours this semester in an attempt to graduate on time, all of which are classes I needed to complete my major or would help me get a job once I did graduate. I needed 20 credit hours to complete my total credit hours requirement. So, I could either take another class here at Webster or take a class at St. Louis Community College (STLCC).

It didn’t take long to realize the smarter decision would be to take one class at STLCC. It would be much cheaper. Plus, there would be plenty of online class options to where I would not even have to leave Webster’s campus.

I went on my search for a class offered by STLCC that would fill the GCP category of Art Appreciation and one of the classes was, wait for it, film appreciation.

After seeing this shocking piece of evidence, I decided to reopen my campaign of getting the film and tv appreciation class I previously took to count. This time on the platform of, ‘I need an explanation.’

I went looking for answers. The answer I received from the university was basically, ‘oh, it looks like you still have some credit hours to take so you can just take a class here that counts for Art Appreciation and you’ll be okay.’

At face value, that is correct. Currently, my semester reads that I am taking 15 credit hours. I will reach 18 when my independent study is finalized, something that would have been known if there was a more productive conversation about my current schedule.

I still need 20, but those credit hours could’ve been used in a much more productive way.

I am a sports communication major. A major that needs as many kids enrolled in classes as it can get.

Right now, I am taking a course with only two people enrolled in it. I have twice taken a course with only four people enrolled. And I have only twice taken a course that had more than 10 people enrolled in it, one of which was Media Law, a class required for most of the majors in the school of communications.

Allowing me to take a class that is part of the major will help prevent more class cancellations for younger students. It not only benefits me, it is a benefit to the rest of my fellow sports communications majors because they won’t have to worry about having a key class get canceled.

This response goes deeper than just a personal level. If I was a professor, especially a professor here that teaches film and television appreciation, I would be insulted. To me, the decision to let the same class count at another school, but not at Webster, says the professors at STLCC teach the same class better than Webster’s professors.

Or is it a money grab? It will not count because then you will have to take it over the summer or in other cases come back for another semester and that is just more money in the school’s pocket. I am not saying that is the case, but it could lead to that perception by many of the students here, if it is not that already.

There has to be some consistency because right now all I see is hypocrisy. If Webster wants to claim that the GCP creates the true Webster college experience, they can’t tell students they can take the same classes cheaper somewhere else that count towards GCP while the ones being offered at Webster do not. Unless that is the true Webster experience, getting ripped off.  

So I will take their advice, and I will be finishing my GCP at another school that isn’t Webster University.  

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  • Amy Whited-Hylton

    Are you talking about taking the class at SLCC as your last class? You may want to double check with your Advisor, since I think a certain # of your credit hours leading up to graduation have to be through the degree-granting institution (i.e. Webster).