Groups tackle graduation requirements

Service-learning has long been a hot topic around the UW-Eau Claire campus. Some students and faculty see it as a pain, while others see it as a great way to integrate the school with the community.

Now a focus group has been created to see just how effective service-learning is.

“We’ve had this requirement for four years and it might be time to revisit it and look it over,” said Student Senate President Justin Hentges.

This group, along with three other focus groups, has been created and will look at simplifying general education graduation requirements, faculty workload and the drop/add policy.

“We’re just looking at little things to tweak the programs,” Hentges said.

Each focus group contains at least one student, but the service-learning group contains two students, Hentges and sophomore Andy Oettinger.

The idea for the creation of these groups came from a retreat this summer, where the division heads and other members of the faculty gathered to talk about obstacles for graduation.

From there Provost Ronald Satz created an advisory task force to look at the findings from the retreat. Then the task force narrowed down the findings to form the focus groups on the major obstacles.

The findings from the focus groups could influence policy changes in general education requirements, faculty workload, service-learning and the drop/add policy.

“We’re looking at clarifying the service-learning requirement so it is not as open for abuse,” Oettinger said.

The conclusions from the focus group on service-learning could also affect the outcome of a controversial motion going through the University Senate.

The motion is a proposed waiver of the service-learning requirement for veterans.

This motion was again brought to the floor of the University Senate at its 3 p.m. meeting Tuesday in the Tamarck Room of Davies Center.

However, the motion was tabled until the Senate received the findings from the focus group.

“We’re not looking at getting rid of service-learning,” Hentges said. “We’re going to look at the issues revolving around it right now to try and come up with a coherent policy for (service-learning).”