Photo by Maria Durazu-Means

Posted on April 7, 2014

Lab hours adjust
to help students fulfill majors

Laramie County Community College’s Academic Standards Committee has come to an understanding with the science faculty’s request for flexible lab credit hours regarding how much time each science class needs to maintain quality education.

LCCC’s science faculty had approached the Academic Standards Committee opposing the decision to change all lab hours to an average of two hours a week, which would reduce some science classes to 30 lab credit hours a semester instead of 45 lab credit hours.

“We will be making changes,” said the Dean of Health Sciences and Wellness Terry Harper. Harper is also the co-chair of the Academic Standards Committee, a faculty-driven committee in concert with the administration whose purpose is to facilitate high standards for all curricula throughout the college.

The number of hours under which science classes had been functioning, up until the attempt to standardize, was 30-45 lab credit hours a semester, or two to three hours a week, depending on the depth and safety precautions necessary. In an attempt to keep the flexibility of lab hours, the science faculty attended an Academic Standards Committee meeting Friday, Feb. 28.

Armed with surveys and charts of institutions in Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska, the science group made an argument providing evidence that colleges and universities provide flexibility for different science classes. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all for sciences,” said LCCC instructor of geosciences Trent Morrell.

Master course outline of record

To ensure the college is being consistent with course objectives and assessments, LCCC uses a master course outline of record, which is a standardized form that can be accessed by faculty and administration. MCOR at its most basic level provides program and institutional information. Usually the length of the outline depends on how many credit hours a course has.

 “The overall theme is to get students to complete their degrees at LCCC,” Morrell said. LCCC is trying to make the flow easier for students to earn their associate degrees in two to three years, he said.

Students are taking longer to finish their degrees, so LCCC is trying to implement plans in which students complete faster without decreasing the quality of the courses.

Morrell concluded, “We want our students to succeed at a quicker rate, on time, with a quality education, but there needs to be some compromise to achieve it.”


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