I am deeply disturbed by the decision of the FLC Board of Trustees to take control of the curriculum away from the faculty and force us to become an all three-credit college. I believe that this move will hurt the quality of education for Fort Lewis College students. But perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this radical action by the FLC Board of Trustees is that it was, I believe, predicated on false assumptions. President Dene Kay Thomas and Provost Barbara Morris have repeatedly argued that this move was necessary to improve transferability in the state of Colorado that is an all three-credit state. They also argued that staying at a 3/4-credit structure would hurt the reaccreditation process that Fort Lewis will undergo with the Higher Learning Commission in 2015.
Research by faculty in the AAUP found no evidence to support these claims. We discovered that every college in Colorado has courses carrying more than three credits. While Fort Lewis has the most, probably 20 percent of courses offered at CU are at four, five, and six credits. Therefore Colorado is not a three-credit state. Additionally, faculty members contacted every registrar’s office in the state of Colorado and found that transferring from Fort Lewis to another Colorado school does not result in a loss of credits because of the 3/4-credit system.
Finally, we have found no evidence whatsoever that the Higher Learning Commission will penalize Fort Lewis for its current credit structure. The last HLC report of mid-2000s noted that we had a mixed credit model and did not raise any objections to our existing model. What I do believe is that this move will disrupt the curriculum of over two-thirds of the departments at FLC, disrupt faculty governance and the smooth operations of FLC, reduce the quality of education for FLC students and make FLC a less unique place. Please help the FLC faculty in making sure that changes at the college are conducted in a transparent, fair and thoughtful manner.
Janine Fitzgerald, professor, sociology and human services, Fort Lewis College