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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Board of Regents approve new course numbering guide

    Transferring courses between Arizona universities and community colleges may be easier in a year.

    The Arizona Board of Regents voted to endorse a plan implementing a new course numbering system for all three Arizona universities during its meeting in the Student Union Memorial Center Grand Ballroom on Thursday.

    The new course numbering system is a “”shared unique numbering”” system which would create a “”bank of identifiable common courses that would be mapped to an institution’s existing courses”” without changing institutional prefixes and numbers. For instance, an English 101 course might be directly transferable between Arizona institutions, even if it is not called English 101 at both places.

    ABOR estimates are that 175 to 200 general education and common major courses will comprise the course bank.

    This Shared Unique Numbering system was chosen over another numbering proposal that would have created a universal course guide for Arizona, with equivalent 100-level and 200-level courses designated with the same prefix, number and title.

    The ABOR Joint Council of Presidents of the community colleges and universities approved the shared unique numbering system unanimously during its last meeting on Nov. 12. The ABOR Academic Affairs Committee also approved it during its meeting earlier today.

    Financial constraints seemed to have some impact on which system was chosen. While the ABOR executive summary on the matter states the common course numbering system would be “”the most transparent for identifying equivalent courses statewide and would be the simplest for students to understand”” it would also be “”significantly more expensive to implement and maintain.””

    According to ABOR estimates, the shared unique numbering system would cost a total of $4.5 million to implement, with additional maintenance costs of $162,000 per year. In comparison the common numbering system would cost over $63 million to implement, and more than $4 million a year to maintain.

    The Arizona Students’ Association is in favor of the other common course proposal, saying it would greatly ease the burden of students looking to transfer within the state. Members of the organization drafted the original legislation, SB 1186, which was signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer in September.  

    Regents were divided on whether to accept the Shared Unique Numbering system proposal. Regent Jennifer Ginther said she believes students are not best served by the proposed system and, as far as she could tell, are not pleased with the form the system had taken. Regent Ernest Calderon shared her concern and voted against the proposal.

    “”I have to respectfully support the students on this matter,”” Calderon said.

    Regent Mark Killian said he thought the board needed to push for action on the matter.

    “”My fear is that if we keep talking about it, talking about it, messing around with it, it’s never going to happen,”” he said.

    Calderon shared his fear.

    “”I am just mystified as to why we are talking about this ad nauseum,”” he said. 

    Arizona State University President Michael Crow said he thought the course numbering debate was being wrongly portrayed as a “”mechanical issue”” and said the larger problem was dealing with the inherent differences between courses, institutions, curricula, and faculty members.

    “”Just saying something is the same doesn’t make it so,”” he said.

    Elma Delic, the board of directors chair of the Arizona Students’ Association, spoke at the beginning of the meeting and urged the board to implement a common course system not the Shared Unique Numbering system, because any other system would not best serve the students and taxpayers of Arizona or “”truly solve the issue.””

    Several Regents, including Regent Chair Fred DuVal, said that while a common course numbering system would be ideal, it would create problems for faculty trying to set their curricula to similar standards.

    “”The amount of faculty involvement necessary in order to do this is laborious,”” DuVal said. 

    Implementation of the new system is anticipated to begin in January and take around a year to complete.

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