Responses to the distribution credit survey show that student preference is split between the newly proposed distribution credit system and the current system, whereas faculty favour the proposed system or an entirely different system to best achieve the university’s goal of intellectual diversity.
On behalf of Sarah Murphy, Mount Allison Students’ Union’s then-president Dylan Wooley-Berry sent a survey to students on April 11 requesting feedback on the newly proposed distribution credit system. This survey was also sent to members of the faculty.
Responses to the survey from students were distributed evenly across academic years; while the majority of responses came primarily from of the students in Bachelor or Arts and Bachelor of Science.
“I was very impressed by the number of student responses,” said Murphy. “With 772 responses, this is clearly an issue that students care deeply about.”
The proposed system has eight new distribution categories, rather than the current four. Students would be required to complete three credits from seven of the eight categories. This would change the requirement from 24 distribution credits to 21.
“There was a lot of conflict in the responses,” said Murphy. Forty-nine per cent of students were in favour of preserving the previous distribution credit system whereas 43 per cent responded positively to the proposed system. An additional option allowed students to suggest an entirely different system of distribution courses. Seven per cent of students who responded chose this option, many suggesting a pass/fail distribution credit system would be best.
One student indicated they think the current system is favourable: “I think it is quite silly to change a system that has nothing wrong with it. Every year there are successful, well rounded graduates who graduate from Mount Allison and I don’t think changes to this system are necessary in any way.” This sentiment was echoed by many other student responses.
In contrast, another student voiced a preference for the new system, as it would give students broader categories to chose from. “I think the broader categories work better as it gives students more choice as to what they can take […] overall not forcing any student to take courses they find uninteresting or difficult is the best option.”
In another question, the survey asked if an additional category should be included in the new distribution credit system. Many students answered that the new distribution system did not need a new category. Some also said there were already too many categories in the proposed system.
One student suggested the new system include an indigenous studies category and emphasized the need for more social sciences course. Another student suggested a diversity category, writing, “courses that focus on various inequalities such as gender, disability, race […] possible courses could be taken from the [women’s and gender studies], [sociology] and [psychology] departments.”
Many students also said anthropology, sociology, and the sciences need to be included in more categories; many others expressed a desire for a pass/fail evaluation system. Members of the faculty echoed this sentiment.