November 15, 2018

Delegates’ Agenda proposes to alleviate transfer credit stress

The Fall 2018 Delegates’ Agenda meeting took place Oct. 11 at 3:00 p.m. in Sunnen Lounge. Student committees presented issues regarding degree completion, transfer students and network mobility.

Senior Emily Staten advocated for raising the flat fee credit hour rate from 18 to 21 hours. Right now, students have to pay $710 for every credit hour exceeding 18.

Staten said raising the rate would primarily benefit transfer students, students who are undecided, double-majoring or international students.

She said this issue has consistently come up on the Delegates’ Agenda survey in recent years.

“We want to give students the option to take more credit hours and get classes out of the way in order to graduate on time,” Staten said.

SGA President Vladimir Radojkovic moderated the meeting. He said last year’s focus was on acquiring better athletic facilities, but this year is all about “fixing the system.”

“Students cannot wisely plan how they’re going to graduate because they get charged for over 18 credits, which makes them have to study for more than four years,” Radojkovic said. “That charge is really hurtful, so that’s why we proposed 21 credits to be the limit.”

Junior Jessica Battle presented about enhancing the college experience for transfer students. Battle was chosen to give her perspective because she transferred to Webster this semester from Saint Louis Community College-Meramec.

Battle said transfer students often feel disconnected and have a harder time acclimating to their new schools.

“For me, the biggest change was that I was really involved at Meramec, and when I came here, it was harder to get involved in clubs,” Battle said. “A little bit more in orientation would have helped me.”

Radojkovic also addressed problems with course availability. He said students may be hesitant to study abroad due to the lack of variety of courses offered at certain campuses.  

“We have to figure out ‘What do we want to be as a school?’” Radojkovic said. “If we are the so-called global school with a global perspective, then we have to act that way.”

Battle agreed, recalling a specific aspect of the study abroad portion of the presentation that proposed integrating professors from Webster’s global campuses with the St. Louis campus.

“I really liked the point they made about diversity and inclusion,” Battle said. “One of the presentations talked about not just hiring different faculty of color, but using the faculty that we have abroad and bringing them here to get those different perspectives.

Radojkovic, Staten and Battle felt the issues proposed were realistic and attainable.

“We’re not asking them to build a space shuttle or an athletic arena,” Radojkovic said. “We’re just asking them to take a look at the system we have at Webster and try to fix what can be fixed, so we can give students a little bit of an easier time here.”

Radojkovic said the purpose of the meeting was to start a discourse about these issues. The administration will assign a chair to each committee, and Radojkovic will assign the co-chairs.

The Spring 2019 Delegates’ Agenda meeting will be held April 16 at 1:00 p.m. in Sunnen Lounge. Each committee will propose solutions to the issues addressed in the initial meeting.

“I promise in April we’re going to come with clear proposals and those solutions,” Radojkovic said. “I have no doubts about that.”

Though Radojkovic said he felt frustrated with the pace at which tasks get accomplished at Webster, Radojkovic has faith in the administration. He said he is confident they will eventually complete the committees’ requests, even if it takes longer than anticipated.

Staten said she would consider any progress a success.

“I’m hoping what we discussed will be at least worked on,” Staten said. “I know some of these issues can’t be solved overnight.”

Battle said she was confident the administration would follow through. She said her requests were all simple changes that did not require large sums of money.

“They were actually really excited to tackle these issues,” Battle said. “Overall, I think Webster is one of the best places [to go] in St Louis if you’re a transfer student, but there’s always room for improvement.”

Radojkovic said his goal was not to see direct change but to give opportunities to future students.

“Sometimes you just work to leave the legacy,” Radojkovic said. “I might leave a lot of things [behind] that change this school, but I’m not going to have the chance to experience that because I’m graduating in May.”

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