Comparative admissions for STEM students in research classes – The Middlebury Campus

We feel like we have a good idea of ​​what the average BiHall-er is dealing with. We have three research classes in the fall, and one of us was a teaching assistant for the fourth, so we know the two-class STEM community very well.

Although three-lab-class semesters are not common, we know that it is very common for juniors and dual STEM majors to take two lab-based courses together for multiple semesters. This adds six hours of physical time to the course (two labs x three hours), in addition to any course material given in lab classes (usually including pre-test assignments and weekly post-test assignments as well as lab reports. ). This comparison is based on a typical lab class – but some students in chemistry “super-labs” spend six hours in the lab study for this same class. And beyond the working hours it is important to allocate for the hours spent and the homework given in the three-hour lecture group of these classes. Students often say that the lecture and the laboratory are like separate classes and separate assignments.

And the kicker is this: What we have explained is only information for HALF of the grades a student must take per semester. A total of six hours of coursework counts for only one credit, the same amount of credit as the other three-hour classes per week at Middlebury. All Middlebury students are expected to take four classes per semester for a total of 12 class hours per week (four x three-hour classes), but most STEM students get up to 18 hours because of the extra six hours they spend in the lab. However, this 18-hour course load still earns the same number of points per semester as a 12-hour course load.

Requiring this much work and time from STEM students and giving the same amount of credit to non-STEM students is not fair practice. Awarding additional credits (parts) for laboratory courses will help address this inequity by allowing students to STEM students take three courses (some with labs) and receive a cumulative grade point average that allows them to stay on track to graduate. Students will also have more flexibility in their schedules to complete homework and participate in extracurricular activities.

This approach will also allow STEM students to earn enough credits to meet graduation requirements during their lab-intensive semesters without spending more time in class than their peers. preferably not STEM. We feel strongly that this will improve the mental health of STEM students who are more engaged. In addition to spending less time in class and making more assignments, this will help reduce concerns about graduating on time or needing to take a class a semester later. . It seems reasonable to assign grades that truly reflect the amount of time spent in class. In fact, many other institutions do this as a matter of course, to provide additional information for the hours spent in the laboratory.

In addition, the lack of class availability due to Covid-19 is greatly affecting class enrollment, which has affected STEM majors that require more lab classes. Since Covid-19 is an unexpected roadblock in many STEM students’ schedules, it has caused them to wait to take classes until classes are back in person, meaning students of is “behind” their theme. This increases the need for students to double or triple their coursework.

Another issue is the scheduling of classes, these classes consist of three hour sessions in the laboratory, almost always meeting from 1:30 pm to 4:15 pm, that is students enrolled in such classes cannot take classes that begin between 12:15 pm and 3 pm. This disadvantage continues to limit the choice of courses from which to choose many STEM subjects and makes it difficult to fulfill the their majors, academic areas and cultural and institutional affiliations required to graduate.

Finally, we want to talk about Middlebury’s recent addition of half-credit classes. Half-credit classes are classes that fit for about half the time of regular classes at Middlebury or “half intensive.” For each of these courses, students are awarded 0.5 points, representing the exact amount of time spent in class. Middlebury has set a standard for receiving partial credit for a course that is equivalent to a portion of a one-credit standard course. Therefore, it is reasonable to give more marks for classes that are suitable for more time than the usual three hours per week.

The combination of extra time spent in class, the need to take two (or more) labs per semester and the stress of “Additionally, these STEM students feel that this injustice needs to be corrected and that pharmacy education has more than one award.” explore.

Clara Sandberg is a member of the class of 2024.5, and Raymond Grocela is a member of the class of 2024.

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