The requirements for the Associate of Arts degree will soon change, the Undergraduate Affairs Board announced this spring.
“Program changes occur all the time. Most of the changes that go through UAB would have to do with the curriculum of particular majors,” said Linda Morgan, director of advising and testing, the office which provides academic advising to all Associate of Arts students. “It’s a little more unusual when the structure of a degree changes, and that’s what this is.”
The largest change is the addition of a quantitative skills requirement.
Under the previous catalog, the Associate of Arts degree required nine credits in “math and natural sciences,” which meant that a student could graduate with an Associate of Arts degree and never take a math class.
“The requirements have stiffened,” Morgan said. “We sent letters out to all of our undeclared non-degree students letting them know of these potential changes, in case they wanted to go ahead and (declare). I think we sent out about 800 letters to students with at least 15 credits. We tried to reach as many as we could.”
Under the new program, students will need to fulfill at least one quantitative skills course from the university’s General Education Requirements.
“That’s going to blindside some students who’ve been following the curriculum. They think they’re all set and ready to graduate, but they just hadn’t declared,” Morgan said. “They’re going to have to declare under the 2005 catalog, and now they’re going to be thrown into a math course. We’re most concerned about that because of all the mathphobia that exists.”
Natural sciences course options will also be affected.
“The student is to select natural sciences classes from among the GER for the four-year degree,” said Roy Poole, professor of counseling and member of the UAB. “Whereas in the past students could select courses that did not necessarily have to be from the GER list.”
Humanities and social sciences credits will also have to be selected from the GER.
The applied studies category, previously nine credits, will become part of the new degree structure’s 27 general-elective credits.
“With this particular degree change, it basically started with the faculty and went up through UAB,” Pool said.
The UAB is comprised of faculty from various schools. They approve program and degree changes and new degree offerings.
“They look at proposed changes that come from the university faculty who initiate the changes and that comes from the different colleges,” Poole said. “The notion is that by making these changes we will, in effect, be satisfying our accreditation requirements,” Poole said.
The changes, which were approved by the UAB March 18, will affect all non-declared students following the Associate of Arts track, as well as all students new to that degree program.
This spring, 104 students graduated from UAA in the associate degree program.
The changes go into effect immediately, pending approval by the Board of Regents next month.
“It’s pretty much a done deal,” Morgan said.