The Education Policies Committee made the decision recently to eliminate the physical education requirement, or ‘P’ credit, for all Wittenberg students of junior class standing or lower. On Friday, Registrar Jack Campbell sent a campus-wide email announcing that the new general education requirements, which includes the elimination of the ‘L’ credit, will take effect in the Fall of 2014. This comes at a time when Wittenberg is facing many budget concerns and looking to be as fiscally responsible as possible.
Associate Professor of English, Scot Hinson, Head of the EPC, stated that the decision was made with careful consideration and was considered for a long time. The determination came from efforts to save the university’s money and an effort to better utilize campus resources. With this cut, Hinson stated that the EPC hopes that the activities of faculty who teach these courses will be better directed towards other activities.
“It’s a better utilization of resources, in my eyes,” said Hinson. “The majority of students are already participating in these kinds of activities. Students are extremely active on campus. The ‘P’ requirement in some ways feels redundant.”
Hinson also noted that the EPC is making an effort to focus on programs that are revenue generating for Wittenberg, such as the introduction of the nursing completion program and the sports management major. He insisted that programs such as this make a difference to prospective students who are considering colleges similar to Wittenberg.
Yet, some professors in the Health, Fitness, and Sports Department are concerned about what this decision means for the health and education of students.
“The motion from the EPC that the faculty voted on, not only eliminated the requirement, but also all activity courses,” said Dr. Steven Dawson, Chair of the Health, Fitness, and Sports Department. “I believe the university should continue to offer Physical Activity courses for academic credit for those students who wish to take them.”
“I took a volleyball class and a swimming class last year and I thought it was fun,” said Allie Dunn, class of 2016. “I’ll be mad if they aren’t offered anymore.”
According to Dr. Thomas Martin of the Health, Fitness, and Sports Department, the number of credits required for graduation has not been decreased and athletes will no longer receive two academic credits for participation in their chosen sport. While he does not believe there are currently any plans for a reduction in coaching staff, he does express concern about the integrity of Wittenberg’s liberal arts education.
“In my opinion, the elimination of the P requirement has devalued a Wittenberg education,” said Martin. “Mens sana in corpore sano; Latin for ‘a sound mind in a healthy body.’ This is, or should be, the mantra of a liberal arts education.”
Students involved in the Dance department are also concerned that this elimination will affect their majors and minors.
“If the ‘P’ credit goes away, what will happen to dance classes?” said Junior Sarah Royal. “That’s going to hurt the dance program for sure.”
Hinson assured that this decision was made with the health and well-being of students in mind. While current seniors are still required to graduate with the two ‘P’ credits, any student who will be enrolled at Wittenberg next fall are waived the requirement.