Proposal to Allow May semester seniors to Graduate on time

Memo

Date: May 21, 2016

To: CNU, Office of the Registrar

From: Travis Smith, Christopher Newport University Graduate

Subject: Proposal to allow May semester seniors to graduate on time in the spring.

Purpose

The purpose of this memo is to propose a new policy of allowing seniors that need to take one May semester course to still be eligible to walk and graduate on time in the spring.

Summary

At Christopher Newport University, any senior that has to take a May semester class to graduate is not allowed to walk in the spring gradation commencement. They are forced to come back the following year and walk, or not walk at all. On top of that, they also do not receive their degree until August, which can hinder the graduate’s ability to land a job immediately after they have finished their classes. The method I chose for this research report is a case study. I have conducted a survey from past, present, and future CNU graduates to get their opinions on the subject. I have also chosen to include a few professors in the survey to allow for a non-student perspective in the data. I know firsthand the impact that this policy has on students because it has prevented me from graduating and walking on time. I took the survey and included my opinion in the data analysis of this report.

I propose that seniors that need a single May semester class to graduate, should be allowed to participate in the spring graduation commencement. I also propose to allow the student to receive his/her degree upon completion of the May semester course rather than waiting until August. This way the student can be successful as possible early on in his/her career. The most important concern to the school officials should be making sure that recent graduates get off to good start. This ensures that all the hard work and money that students have put forth will truly pay off in the end. Please contact me if you have any question in regards with this proposal. My email is travis.smith.13@cnu.edu

Abstract

In the May semester of 2016, I conducted a qualitative research study on whether seniors at Christopher Newport University that need one May semester course to complete their degree requirements should be allowed to walk with their graduating class, and receive their degree after he/she has completed the May term. The idea for this research report came from personal experience of this policy. I needed three more credits to complete my degree requirements, ergo I did not get to walk with my class, and I now have to wait until August to actually receive my degree. Not only is it a disappointment that I did not get to walk, but it also has hurt my chances at getting a job immediately because I will not have my degree until the end of the whole summer semester. A graduate that has gotten their degree stands a better chance a landing a job than the student that still has to wait for theirs. The method of data collection I chose to use for this report was a survey. I surveyed CNU students and staff to find their opinion on the subject and essentially whether or not they thought the current policy was fair.

Keywords: Degree, Walk, May, Class

Introduction

In the May semester of 2016, research was conducted to examine a policy at Christopher Newport University. The policy that was being looked at was seniors that need to take a May semester to complete their degree requirements are not allowed to walk with their graduating class and also must wait until August to receive their degree. To put this into better perspective, I will give an example. A senior that has almost completely finished their degree requirements only needs 3 more credit hours from any class to be done. He or she must take a May semester class to get those last 3 credits. The class does not have to be relevant to their degree either, it can be any class. Because they now have to take a May class, they automatically do not get to graduate on time with their class. To be clear, May courses are only 3 weeks long and go by very fast. The May term ends about two weeks after the scheduled spring graduation commencement. This means that not only did the student not get to participate in graduation, they now have to wait until the entire summer term is over before they get their degree simply because of 3 credits.

To find a general consensus on this policy, I created a survey to gather data about how Christopher Newport University students felt about it. The survey consisted of five questions, and was very straightforward. It asked if students have heard of or were aware of this policy. It asked students if they have been impacted in any way from this policy. It asked if they though it was a fair or unfair policy. And lastly, it asked if they though students should have to wait until August to receive their degree. The results section of this report will go into better detail and show the final analysis of the data that was collected.

After looking over the data, I concluded that my original proposal to the policy is still a valid option on how it should be adjusted to not hinder students the way it currently does. I propose that seniors that need a single May semester class to graduate on time, should be allowed to participate in the spring graduation commencement. I also propose to allow the student to receive his/her degree upon completion of the May semester course rather than waiting until August. This way the student can be successful as possible early on in his/her career.

Theory

The method used for this qualitative research study was a case study. A case study seemed the suit the needs of the report best. To begin, students that are seniors and not graduating on time because of one May semester class was the main issue. A secondary issue caused by the first concern is not receiving their degree until August. I chose to use my own case to explain the details of how this policy can hinder graduating students. I then proceeded to survey other students and staff to better understand how other individuals felt about the policy. I analyzed the data that I had collected and concluded that a case study was indeed the best approach to this qualitative report.

Research Methods

The main method I used to gather the data for this report was a survey. I made the survey using Google forms. I then proceeded to email the survey to as many Christopher Newport Students as possible. Majority of the students that filled out the survey had already graduated from CNU, however, there were still some current students that participated. The survey was fairly short, five questions. The purpose was to see how many students were aware of this policy, and if it had any impact on them. It also asked if the students thought the current policy was fair or unfair. Lastly, the survey asked students their opinion on whether or not seniors that completed the May course should have to wait until August to receive their degree.

Results

This sections shows the results from the survey and how it was analyzed. Each question has a pie chart to assist with visualizing the data. The first question asked if they have heard of the policy of not being able to graduate on time if a May course has to be taken. The result came back with 80 percent have heard of the policy and 20 percent have not heard of this policy. The next question asked if this policy impacted you in any way. 90 percent of responders said no, 10 percent said yes. A follow up question was asked next. It asked the students if they responded yes to being impacted by this policy, to briefly explain how it impacted them. Only one person gave a written response which stated that they had to take multiple summer classes now so they could graduate on time next year. Because of this, the student cannot work over the summer and will be finically hindered the following year at school. The next question asked if they think that this policy is fair or unfair. 80 percent said it was unfair, while 20 percent said it was fair. The last question asked if a student completes the requirements for their degree by the end of the May semester, do you think the student should have to wait until August to receive their degree. 100 percent responded with no.

 

Appendix

  1. Have you heard of this policy?   yes 80%, no 20%
  1. Did this policy impact you in any way?   yes 20%, no 80%
  1. If you answered “Yes” to the previous question, please briefly explain how it impacted you. (1 response)

“I didn’t wanna get caught in this so I’m taking classes summer before senior year to not get caught.”

  1. Do you think this policy is fair or unfair?   Fair 20%, Unfair 80%
  1. If a student completes the requirements for their degree by the end of the May semester term, do you think they should have to wait until August to receive their degree?    yes 0%, no 100%
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