Switching Direction

Butler changes the enrollment process

by Nadine Armstrong | Photo Editor

Butler has made the decision to switch to a program called Pathways, taking effect the fall of 2018, to help students know what classes they need to take so they can graduate with an associate’s degree.

Pathways is a concept that was formed a number of years ago. With Pathways, students will have a degree plan that shows all the classes they offer and are required to take. Students will also have a chart showing the order they should take classes.

Doctor Keith West, professor of mass communications and member of the Pathways committee, says we had strayed from giving students a list of what they have to do to graduate on time. “Especially here at Butler Community College. We would tell [students] what classes [they] needed to take over the course of two years, but not necessarily which one went before which.”

Pathways plans to solve the recurring issue of students not taking the fundamental classes that are supposed to be the basis of other specialized courses. Pathways will help students make sure they have all the tools needed for other classes they will take.

To prepare for Pathways, all departments are re-examining the degrees and determining what classes are necessary and what is not. Some departments will be adding new classes to the program while others might not change at all. The mass communications department will be modifying some classes and adding others. They have already started do so by combining Introduction to Audio and Video Production and will add a Media Buying and Selling class next year. What will change (no matter what the degree) is that students will have a four-semester plan available to them to help decide what classes to take.

Along with Pathways, Butler will be adding Mega majors. “Mega majors” are general education classes that are common to students their first semester plus an exploratory class that will allow students to look at the group of majors they are interested in. After completing the exploratory class the goal is that students will know what major they want to pursue by the end of the semester.

“All in an effort to support our students but also give our students what they need,” West says. “The mega majors are really the heart of this whole student centered re-evaluation, and the mega majors combined with pathways is what makes Butler unique. We are the only school in Kansas doing it.”

Next year, Butler will be in a transition period where both concepts are offered. In degrees where requirements do not change, there will be very little impact on the students. If a student is in a program where the requirements change they can choose to stay with what they are doing or they can switch over to Pathways.

“If [a student’s’] degree requirements change [they] are responsible for [finishing] the degree requirements for when [they] started at Butler,” West says.

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