Proposal requiring attendance at campus events in the works for fall

By Tiffanie Reynolds |

This fall, students may be filling more seats in campus events — not necessarily because they want to, but because they may be required to go.

The co-curricular requirement is the latest proposal of the academic strategic plan to be evaluated and voted on by the faculty senate. In the last meeting, which occurred on Jan. 11, the senate voted for it to be considered in this year’s institution budget.

A committee still needs to be formed to work out details of this proposal, but, when passed, it will require incoming freshmen to attend a certain number of campus events in order to graduate.

“I think we do offer a wide variety of cultural events on campus and sometimes we need the encouragement to take the time and go and attend them,” said Professor Tracy Upchurch, a co-sponsor of the proposal.

Some things that the committee will be looking at is how to determine if an event can fulfill the requirement, how to track student attendance and how to display that attendance. Upchurch and Dean Alan Woolfolk, another co-sponsor of the proposal, have made made suggestions like giving a list of events for students to choose from or a card reader for students to scan their ID at an event.

“The primary justification is that co-curricular programs can be very effective when it comes to student learning. They are other means of teaching students and a means of introducing them to a whole other dimension of academic life,” Woolfolk said.

Another reason for the push for this proposal is to follow similar co-curricular programs that larger colleges have implemented as part of their general education program. It will also allow Flagler to hold a bigger variety of events on campus because of the increase in attendance.

Although it would help the attendance of events, what some students are concerned about is the attitude students will have toward these events on campus.

“It’s taking something that’s fun and [about] making friends a class. These are activities that students go to have fun and if you’re forced to do it, it’s not fun,” said Will Cranford, a freshman history major.

Jonathan Tate, a sophomore political science major, agreed. He said it wouldn’t make sense if students were required to go to an event that didn’t relate to what they were studying.

“Going to these school events like plays and stuff like that and you’re not part of the theater or art department doesn’t make too much sense to make it mandatory,” Tate said. “I mean, if it doesn’t interest you, you’re going to be forced to go and hate it.”

But Upchurch and Woolfolk’s hope is that the requirement will interest students to go to events, even when they are not required to attend them.

The faculty senate is planning on implementing this proposal in Fall 2012.

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