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Miami Plan makeover to allow more flexibility

By Corinne Hazen, For The Miami Student

As of fall 2015, Students entering Miami University will enroll in fewer Miami Plan foundation courses due to a multi-year examination and makeover of the Miami Plan.

Associate professor Rich Smith of the Division of Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, said the change was made in unison with the Liberal Education Counsel and the University Senate, with redesign and modernization in mind.

Reducing the required Miami Plan courses will offer students more freedom within their first years at Miami, but will also encourage students to choose their courses more intentionally, later in their academic careers.

"While [the Miami Plan] remains a good framework, changes in the way students operate in the 21st century make the interactions among the Miami Plan, the rest of the curriculum and the wide diversity of student preparation, expectations and ambitions less than we might expect," Smith said.

Smith saidthis change was implemented in order for students to receive a more consistent liberal education. Some concern arose surrounding transfer and AP courses, which are able to fulfill certain courses, and whether or not they provide a "distinctly Miami background."

"In general, some parts of the foundation have been minimized and substituted with upper level courses that are expected to have more advanced liberal learning objectives," Smith said. "To be specific, one foundation writing course, one global perspectives course and one science course are removed from the foundation and replaced by an advanced writing course and an intercultural perspectives course. There is also an experiential learning course that has no set number of credit hours."

Lexi Kilgore, a sophomore early childhood education major, said she is glad to see this change, even though it does not affect her personally. Kilgore said students should not be required to take so many courses that do not apply to their majors.

"Some of the Miami Plan courses I have taken have been really difficult and affected my grade in a bad way when it is something I necessarily don't need for my future job,"Kilgore said. "I'm really glad to see this is changing, but wish it could have been changed sooner."

Sophomore Hannah Deters said she believes the Miami Plan courses she took that were unrelated to her major were beneficial to her and her development, such as her Latin American Studies (LAS) course. Deters recognized the need to scale back the amount of Miami Plan hours required though.

"I believe that [Miami Plan courses] take up a lot of time and credits in the students' schedule which deter [them] from having time to focus on their major," Deters said. "Unless the student came in with advanced placement credits, it is more difficult to graduate with another major/minor. All of my Miami Plan classes were beneficial to my development in multiple disciplines."

Smith said the overall goal is to have students better prepared to leave Miami and navigate the complex world.

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"We hope to document student gains in a variety of competencies including writing, critical thinking, creativity, information literacy and many other areas," Smith said.

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